Student groups are sponsoring a schedule of 18 events to commemorate and raise awareness of African-American history and present-day issues of race, activism and identity, in observance of Black History Month this February.
This year’s schedule includes six more events than that of 2016. Among the events planned are film screenings, panel discussions, roundtables and musical performances.
Various events are presented by the Black House, the African Society of Georgetown, GU Women of Color, the Arab Society, Black Movements Dance Theatre, GU Riqueza Dominica, Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs, the Georgetown chapter of the NAACP, GU Film Society and Caribbean Culture Circle.
The first event, a discussion on race and allyship within communities of color, was held by GUWOC on Wednesday. The events will be held predominantly on weekends through the end of February.
All of the events were planned by the separate groups except for one joint event, according to Black Leadership Forum coordinator Lauren Leavell (SFS ’17).
“Each group within the Black Leadership Forum’s coalition individually plans their own events that their specific organization sponsors,” Leavell wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The BLF as a whole comes together to help further sponsor and support the individual events that the various orgs organize. The BLF will also come together as a whole to help plan a combined event that all the organizations will sponsor.”
Leavell said the higher number of events this year was not a purposeful decision, but reflects the current climate of heightened racial tensions and anxiety.
“With the increased racial tensions that are so evident in American society, we as the Black Leadership Forum want to ensure that there are many events and dialogues present on campus to continue to help educate Georgetown’s community on Black History Month and its importance,” Leavell wrote.
African Society of Georgetown President Ibilola Owoyele (SFS ’17) wrote in an email to The Hoya that she hopes the events will help inform the university community about the complex history, culture and contributions of African Americans in the United States.
“I hope Georgetown community members learn about the significant achievements that African Americans have contributed to American culture and history, and about the diversity, the struggle, and the overwhelming beauty of African culture, history, and resistance,” Owoyele wrote. “In this current political and social climate, it’s so imperative that Georgetown fosters a learning environment that celebrates the diversity and blackness of our school, of our country, and of this world.”
ASG’s events include dance and cooking classes and a roundtable discussion on the African identity. Owoyele said the group’s events complement the other groups’ events with a celebration of Africa.
“At the end of February, we plan to hold an event in conjunction with the Arab Society that highlights and discusses the diversity, complexity, importance, and relevance of the African Identity on the continent and abroad,” Owoyele wrote.
According to Leavell, the purpose of all Black History Month events is to share an appreciation for the black figures in history who have made the United States what it is.
“We hope that the celebration of Black History Month causes people of all various identities on Georgetown’s campus and in the community to understand and take the time to realize that Black people and our history is interwoven within the fabric of American history as a whole,” Leavell wrote. “We want to take the whole month of February to honor the legacies of those who have come before us and take their hard work and pay it forward for the advancement of future generations.”
Hoya Staff Writer Ian Scoville contributed reporting.
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