By Kate Dempsey
The Black History Month Committee (BHMC), in conjunction with the Black Faculty Staff (BFS) and a coalition of clubs and departments at Brooklyn College, has returned with their annual events that educate students about Black history and culture every February.
A total of 12 events are scheduled this Black History Month, including art showcases, panel events, and movie screenings. The events follow Black History Month’s national theme, chosen annually by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, “African Americans and the Arts.” The theme looks to highlight how African American artists have used the form to preserve history and use it for empowerment.
The coalition that organizes the events includes the African Student Union (ASU), Black Student Union (BSU), Caribbean Student Union (CSU), Women of Color (WOC), Phi Sigma Chi Fraternity, National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), Black and Latino Male Initiative (BLMI), Student Activities Involvement and Leadership Center (SAIL), Haitian American Student Association (HASA), Caribbean Studies Program, the Sociology Department, and the Africana Studies Department.
The committee has annually organized Black History Month since 2017, putting on a variety of events for the BC community. The events are a way to keep the momentum going for learning Black history while mentoring the new generations of leaders organizing them.
“When we launched it, we did one to four events every single day, from the very first day of Black History Month all the way through the end,” Shadiq Williams, program coordinator of the Black and Latino Male Initiative at BC and a founding member of the Committee, told The Vanguard. “From there we just try to keep that spirit alive with upcoming years, so connecting with the new e-boards, helping mentor them, helping them with their planning.”
Planning for the month’s events begins early in the fall semester, when members gather together to decide on which events to put on.
“Between October and December, we are pretty much meeting, planning, bouncing ideas off of one another. We have meetings with professors from the Sociology Department, Africana, and we pretty much just brainstorm with each other,” Tiara Jenkins, former president of BHMC and a recent graduate of BC, told The Vanguard. “I love seeing everything executed that we’ve worked hard for.”
Shatisha Bryant, vice-president of the Committee and president of the Black Solidarity Day Committee held on Nov. 6, told The Vanguard that one of the goals for putting on the events is for others to learn the importance of acknowledging Black history.
“I want all of us to know what Black history represents […] the importance of passing down our stories, our legacies, our bountiful collaborations all across the world,” Bryant said. “This is just the first step, getting active on campus.”
Organizers explained to The Vanguard that students who would like to learn more about Black history can visit the Africana Department located on the third floor of James Hall, or visit the library’s Africana Studies page. For more ways to learn and get involved with Black history beyond BC, the organizers said that students on all budget levels can find a myriad of events in New York City. “There are many things happening with our New York City libraries, with our museums […] all of the boroughs are touching on this important subject of Black history,” Bryant said.
The Committee emphasized that Black history is not just reserved for one month, and to remember that Black history is full of optimism and excellence that will continue into the future.
“Black history represents resilience. It symbolizes not forgetting all the blood that was shed from all Black innocent people throughout history,” Bryant said. “I want the students to know that Black history conveys optimism, it hopes for justice and equality […] and to not forget and to know that all Black and Brown is beautiful.”
Students can stay updated on the Black History Month Committee’s events by checking out their Instagram @bhmc_bc.