February is Black History Month, and many UNC students will have the opportunity to participate in celebrations through a variety of on-campus events.
Across campus, student organizations, professors and academic departments are preparing for a wide range of events that celebrate the student body’s diversity, African-American history and prominent African-American figures.
The Office for Diversity and Inclusion has planned several events for Black History Month, while student groups have planned many more.
The Black Student Movement kicked off the celebration in the Student Union on Feb. 1.
Senior and BSM President Qieara Lesesne attended the event and “hopes that the celebration will serve as a way to recenter our community and serve as a way to refocus on things that are positive."
With several recent controversies on campus, particularly those surrounding the toppling of Silent Sam, many students hope that Black History Month will bring the campus community together. As a result of Silent Sam’s toppling, the Black Student Movement has seen a rise in its membership and new energy among current members, said Chris Suggs, secretary of the Black Student Movement.
"As a university, we will learn to celebrate and appreciate so much of the diversity that we have at UNC," Suggs said.
According to UNC’s admission office, the Class of 2022 self-identifies as 11 percent Black or African American.
Rachel Watkins will give a lecture titled “The Role of Black Feminist Theory in Critiquing Scientific Practices and Concepts of Race” on Monday. UNC students and Chapel Hill residents will also have the chance to listen to Ibram X. Kendi as he delivers the annual Chapel Hill African-American History Month Lecture on Thursday at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.
"The Stone Center is committed to sponsoring events celebrating Black History throughout the year," said Stephanie Cobert, public communications officer for the Stone Center. "Students are encouraged to visit the Stone Center’s website for a complete listing of upcoming events throughout the year."
Several events are designed for UNC students specifically. On Feb. 16, current and prospective African-American male students can attend the Black Male Unity Dinner. Black male identity on college campuses will be explored through workshops and guest speakers.
Students can also attend The Check Your Blind Spots Unconscious Bias Tour on Feb. 20, where attendees will be given the opportunity to learn about underlying biases, and how they affect everyday lives.
Students can also reach out to the Black Student Movement for further on-campus involvement. A listing of upcoming Black History Month events can be found on the UNC Office of Diversity and Inclusion's website.
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