Black History Month events reflect history of education in black communities

720x540_powerpoint_mica_bhm2017Throughout February, students can attend a variety of Black History Month events, from speaker panels to movie screenings to ice skating, to learn about this year’s theme: the Crisis in Education.

Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy, the Stamp Student Union, the Black Student Union, Student Entertainment Events and more will host events every week.
Black History Month began with a kick-off at the Nyumburu Cultural Center on Feb. 1, with dinner, entertainment and speakers. Students from MICA gave context about the significance of this year’s theme.

“The Black History Month 2017 theme, The Crisis in Black Education, illustrates that the black experience in the education system is not always a simple path to follow,” according to the MICA website, “But celebrates the efforts that are being made to combat the crisis in Black Education.”

This past week, SEE hosted a screening of “Moonlight,” the 2016 award-winning drama starring Trevante Rhodes, in the Hoff Theater at Stamp. The movie drew a crowded theater Wednesday and Friday night.

“I think ‘Moonlight’ is a really good tie into the Crisis in Education because of how it deals with black sexuality and masculinity in America,” junior English major Allison Thompson said. “Those are two issues that I think are really coming to light as of recently and I think educating people on these issues is very important.”

Thompson plans semesterly movie series’ for SEE as the cinema director. This week SEE will be showing “Arrival.”

“I chose to screen Moonlight for Black History Month just because it itself is a historical film” Thompson said. “It’s the first movie that has been nominated for best director, best screenplay and best picture that has been written by a black director. It itself is making history.”

Freshman music major Camille Jones was able to reflect on her own education in comparison to the underprivileged education portrayed in the movie, she said.

“I feel like I have had the luxury of having really good teachers, like my AP teachers in high school. They all care about their job and it made me want to be there and learn and do well,” Jones said. “I feel like other classes that weren’t advanced or honors weren’t given a lot of attention and the kids in those classes weren’t doing as well, and I think that’s a problem.”

Jones left the movie with a better understanding of this year’s Black History Month theme, she said. Education is a crisis that affects children’s home lives, she said.

“A lot of students are dealing with drugs and a dysfunctional household,” Jones said. “I feel like if they had stronger role models present in public school they’re in, they wouldn’t have been as lost.”

The rest of Black History Month is filled with big plans for speakers, workshops and celebrations. On Friday, Feb. 24 the Black Student Union will be hosting an art show displaying work at the Driskell Center for African American Artwork. Right after, MICA will host performances at “The Black Monologues” where students share their stories.

The Black History Month Ball: Harlem Nights will close out Black History Month in the Grand Ballroom at Stamp on Feb. 25. The formal event will include performances, a silent art auction, food, music and dancing. Proceeds from the event will go to the Helping Out My Younger Self (HOMYS) Scholarship Fund to help Prince George’s County youth pay for college.

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