Over 50 people crowded the Fulton Honors Library, soul music came on over the speakers, and the mood was set for the opening ceremony of Black History Month.
Introduced by Black History Month co-chair Carliana Texeira, CSOM ’16, the Black History Month event, “Black: One Race, Many Traditions” was held on Feb 4.
Organizations including the Thea Bowman Ahana Intercultural Center (BAIC), African Student Organization, Black Student Forum, L’Association Haitienne, Cape Verdean Student Association, and the Caribbean Culture Club joined together to coordinate the event, which was held from 6 to 8 p.m.
Each week of Black History Month will have a different theme, focusing on one aspect of African-American culture.
“It was really interesting to come together as one body, even though we are ethnically different, we all consider each other black, so it was really nice to share each other’s dishes and music, and have great conversation with one another,” Omalayo Ojurongbe, MCAS ’19 and freshman representative of the African Student Organization and Black Student Forum, said.
“It is important to celebrate one’s culture, and it is important for everyone to have pride for one’s culture and learn about other people’s culture, to share dishes and try new things.”
-Omalayo Ojurongbe, MCAS ’19 and freshman representative of the African Student Organization and Black Student Forum
The Black History Month celebration will continue with more events throughout February. The next event will be an Art Collaborative Wednesday, Feb. 10 in the O’Neill Library first floor lounge from 4 to 5 p.m., displaying art by Frank Garcia Ornelas, GSSW ’16, concerning gender identity and expression in the Black community. There will also be a digital media panel on Thursday, Feb. 11 in Higgins 310 from 6 to 8 p.m., and the Closing Ceremony will be Feb. 27 in the Walsh Function Room from 6 to 8 p.m.
“Specifically, this week is called ‘One Race, Many Traditions,’ which is why we have many foods from the different culture clubs,” co-director of the event Taraun Frontis, CSOM ’19, said.
Sonia Chiamaka Okorie, vice president of BSF and CSON ’17, led the room in a Jamaican prayer before attendees went to the back of the room to enjoy different African and Caribbean food. The event served popular dishes like Caribbean plantains, Jamaican patties, and American sweet potato pie, all aspects of the African-American diaspora.
“It is important to celebrate one’s culture, and it is important for everyone to have pride for one’s culture and learn about other people’s culture, to share dishes and try new things,” Ojurongbe said. “We talked with people from other cultures and heard their different stories.”
After the culinary part of the night, Frontis led the students in African-American-based trivia, meant to both inform students and help them find pride in their history. Frontis asked African-American pop culture based questions, like “Which African-American actor was the first to win an Academy Award?,” engaging the attendees to explore their culture in fun ways. Other questions—“What happened in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965?”—zeroed in on historical aspects of African-American culture.
“Most of us do not know anything about black films, so the trivia shows us that there are so many great black actors and actresses in films that are out there,” Ojurongbe said. “It inspires us to watch them and get accustomed to black culture, in a sense.”
Featured Image by Savanna Kiefer / Heights Editor