By Candice Murdock, Staff Writer
Black History month began on February 1 at the Black History Kickoff event on the 3rd floor in the Millennium Student Center. Vast numbers of people made their way to this event, which informed attendees of upcoming events to celebrate black history, music, and food. People from different backgrounds conversed with each other and learned about what is to come in the upcoming month.
Although the University of Missouri–St. Louis has celebrated Black History Month before, there has never been an official kickoff for the events. Ashlee Roberts, assistant director in the Office of Student Involvement, explained, “This is our first time doing a kickoff in a formal manner, and it gives us the opportunity to bring a lot of different people from across campus together around something that’s very common, such as food. Food is always a low level interaction that gets people to engage in diverse activities and gives us the platform to build an awareness about the things that are happening and to promote Black History Month.”
One of the organizations active during the kickoff was the Associated Black Collegians (ABC), an organization that is known for enriching, educating, and serving the UMSL and local communities. ABC represented themselves by having a table at the event and providing information on other events that will happen on campus. Taylor Milon, sophomore, discussed the events that will happen this month. “ABC has a list of events for Black History Month. We have the opening luncheon, the Women in [the] Black Panthers [Movement], [and] we have a Black Love event. We just have a list of events that we have going on,” she said.
Some events that UMSL students can expect to see featured this month include the “Women in the Black Panther Movement” on February 7 at 12 p.m. in Century Room C in conjunction with the Gender Studies department. “Black Love,” a panel that will address relationships just five days before Valentine’s Day, will show on February 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Century Room B. “Soul’d Out 3” will play in the Century Rooms on February 10 at 7 p.m. “Celebrating Black Student Leadership” will take place on February 18 at 6 p.m. in the Office of Student Involvement. Sybrina Fulton, mother of the late Trayvon Martin, will speak on February 22 at 7 p.m. in the J.C. Penney Auditorium. “Black in St. Louis: Sculpting the Future” will also take place in the J.C. Penney Auditorium on February 23 at 6 p.m. “Friday Night Flicks: Moon Light” will play on February 24 at 7 p.m. in the SGA Chambers, and “Demystifying the Divine Nine” will take place on February 27 in Pilot House at 6 p.m. The Office of Student Involvement, the Associated Black Collegians, the University Program Board, the Minority Student Nurses Association, the Multi-Greek Council, and the Gender Studies department help to sponsor the events.
Imani Reid, junior, nursing, and a member of ABC said, “ABC is hosting a ‘Black Love’ event which is a panel of black couples who will talk about their successes, challenges, advice, etc. The relationships will be in different stages, whether that will be in dating [or in] marriage.”
Sybrina Fulton will speak as a part of the OSI Speaker Series about the 2012 death of her unarmed black son, Trayvon Martin, at the hands of Officer George Zimmerman, and the high-profile case which followed and spurred her to become an activist. Students can purchase tickets for the event at the Touhill box office with their student IDs, and the public can purchase tickets online.
Although these are just a few events that are being presented at UMSL, this is a time set apart by Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month, to recognize the key people who are left out of the history books and the media, while also paying homage to the people who played a significant part in making the world a better place.