Celebrating Black History Month at SHU

Why is Black History Month important to you?

“Black History Month is important to me because it is an opportunity to learn more about African American culture and acknowledge the achievements of successful African Americans,” said freshman Jensie Nicholas. “It is also a great way to celebrate diversity and show appreciation for Black contributions to our lives.”

As the spring semester enters into February, Sacred Heart has been celebrating Black History Month in a variety of ways, such as Black History Month themed Wisdom Wednesdays and the School of Social Work featuring influential Black figures throughout the month, including Aisha Bowe.

According to an email sent out by the School of Social Work on Feb. 11, “Aisha Bowe is a former NASA rocket scientist and the Founder and CEO of STEMBoard, an engineering company that ranked in the top half of the 2020 Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in America. She is on a mission to help youth break stereotypes, stop internalizing false narratives, and believe in themselves, enough to pursue careers in STEM.”

Some students have felt that these emails have been an effective way to communicate important information, as well as to promote diversity at Sacred Heart.

“I think the school has done a good job this year when it comes to promoting the influential contributions of Black people,” said junior Chelsea Thakkar. “I think now more than ever, it is important to realize that people from diverse backgrounds bring a lot to the table.”

“Everything is digitalized, which means everyone from around the world can now work together which could not have been possible earlier, so personally, I think Black History Month is a great way of educating the current generation and young minds about the impressive contributions made by Black people and other sectors of society,” said Thakkar.

While these emails provide some insight into influential Black figures both past and present, there are also many other ways that students can celebrate Black History Month.

“Everyone at Sacred Heart would benefit from their understanding by attending the ‘Untitled Othello Project.’ Everyone is welcome,” said Julie Lawrence, Chief Diversity Officer. “They should also visit the Multicultural Center to meet new people and make new friends. Finally, we have Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training for students to learn in a private, yet interactive manner that can be found on Blackboard under ‘Organizations.’”

According to the Sacred Heart website, “The Untitled Othello Project will encourage difficult reflections and conversation about racial identity and structural racism. While scholars have long studied the racist tropes and stereotypes in Shakesphere’s ‘Othello,’ Untitled Othello will consider the concept of race in premodern literature and ways to view it in modern times.”

For students who are interested, the discussion and viewing of a section of the Untitled Othello Project will be held on Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. in the Martire Theater E145 and will be free and available to the public.

While some students are celebrating Black History Month at Sacred Heart, for other students, some of the festivities bring up mixed feelings for Black students who feel that Black history and culture should be celebrated beyond the month of February.

“I like the month, but hate it because it’s like America telling us when we can praise ourselves,” said sophomore Julia Martin. “Why give us one month when we should be doing it all year?”

This article was contributed to by Chantal El Chaib.

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