As February and Black History Month come to an end, it is important to remember significant events and people of color every day of the year – not just during the 28 days of recognition. WSU has a very diverse population, and an inclusive campus is what the university and its students strive for. In reflection of Black History Month, three students of color discuss what the month means to them and how they have seen inclusion on campus.
Black History Month, to me, means a time of reflection for everyone on all of the good and positive things black culture and African American culture has done over the years. Sometimes it might seem that some things can be overshadowed, forgotten about or ignored, so it’s a time to track all of the good and positive things that have come from the inclusion of black people and culture in society.
An instance that I’ve seen inclusion on campus was a time when I walked into the gym to play basketball and they were playing an awesome urban/hip-hop mix on the speakers and I was hearing very historic black artists being played. That was great to hear on campus and share with everyone.
I am an international student and I am African. Coming here, it was more of a shock to see how people take issues of slavery to heart, as many of my African American friends don’t necessarily know their roots. Black History Month has given them a platform to voice out the things they keep inside and designates a special month to remember all of the important people in history to help fight for freedom and bring blacks this far.
The issue of privilege is totally different for me, since I did not grow up with that – back home we are the same. But on WSU’s campus, I see there are groups here that allow people of different races to come together and be heard and supported. My freshman year there was a black cultural club and it was interesting to have all people of color come together and talk about concerning issues to the black community. The Women of Color Association and KEAP Center also allows people of various races to come together and interact and be one community.
To me, Black History Month is a celebration of all of the historic black figures and what they had to go through and overcome. We are acknowledging the fact that they did do something and they paved the way for me to be here right now at a four-year institution that is integrated with all cultures and sexual orientations. Everyone’s all on the same playing field and there’s no discrimination, or there’s not supposed to be at least. Black History Month celebrates that.
We’ve had many programs and speakers on campus talking about Black Lives Matter and a lot of other important topics. These educational opportunities are mainly provided by the Inclusion & Diversity Office and they’ve been working hard to bring notice of these topics to campus.