This February, Belmont is celebrating Black History Month by hosting a variety of events, including several that highlight this year’s theme of ‘Black Health and Wellness.’ These events range from speakers who will discuss social issues surrounding the intersectionality of race in healthcare to showing movies about significant moments in Black history.
Black Student Association President Ashley Sawyer said Black History Month is a wonderful opportunity to focus on the contributions that African Americans have made to improve society. “I am forever grateful for a time to honor the culture that cultivated me and am looking forward to using February as a moment to ensure that every Black life is honored, valued and appreciated in an optimal manner that extends past this brief period,” she said. “The upcoming events hosted by the Black Student Association reflect the inherent value that the Black experience holds, embodying the multifaceted beauty, sophistication and excellence of one of the world’s most unique creations.”
The celebration began on February 4 with a chapel entitled ‘Lament, Rage and the Practice of Solidarity’ led by Cole Arthur Riley. As a writer and liturgist, founder and writer of Black Liturgies, Cole Arthur Riley asks us to consider how the contemplative Christian tradition can help us live more embodied lives that seek to bring justice and liberation to marginalized people and communities.
Several chapels throughout the month will focus on issues within the Black community and emphasize the importance of Black history. The BSA choir will perform at several of the chapels, including a special chapel on February 14.
In addition to chapel events, a variety of speakers will be speaking across campus this month. On February 9 a conversation called ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ was held in Massey classroom 110. The BSA-sponsored event hosted a discussion on microaggressions against people of color/marginalized groups specifically at a predominantly White institution.
Several events will be held that focus on the theme of Black Health and Wellness, including ‘Vulnerability of Marginalized Groups in Climate Change’ with Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd on February 21 and a Suicide Prevention & Stigmas in Mental Health panel discussion with Dr. Georgetta Harris Wyatt and Associate Dean of Students, Student Well-Being Angie Bryant on February 28.
To ignite conversations surrounding diversity and respect in the classroom, GPS hosted ‘Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment for Students in the Classroom’ on February 16. A panel of students from the Black Student Association, Best Buddies and the HOPE Council explored how students can grow in their awareness of students’ experiences in the classroom, as well as discussed why it is important, and what it looks like to foster safe spaces for all students at Belmont.
For a full list of all speakers and events throughout the month, visit <www.belmont.du/mle/bhm.html>.