Black History Month Kickoff event

Ashley Kaiser had the chance to go check out the Black History Month Kickoff event! Check it out!

Posted by WSRU-TV News on Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Office for Inclusive Excellence kicked off Black History month in the Smith Student Center on Tuesday during common hour with “How We See Us.”

Students and faculty gathered in the student center ballroom to celebrate. Following tradition, the event, which was led by Keshia Booker, the Assistant Director of Multicultural Development, began with the singing of the Black National Anthem. Booker encouraged students to see themselves and others in a positive light.

“I began to really examine how often people are asked to view themselves in the lense of others,” Booker said. “In particular, how often people of color are asked to see themselves through the lense of others.”

There were also several speakers including Jermaine Wynn, Jr., a senior marketing major and football player, and Monique Alexander, an assistant professor in elementary and early childhood education, who spoke about some of their experiences that led them to where they are today.

Wynn Jr. talked about the effects that his success has on those who look up to him. He discussed an opportunity where he spoke to his hometown’s youth football team and the impact his role as a successful African American male had played on the kids.

“To these kids when they see me, they see someone positive, who looks just like them, who came from the same situation as them and who was able to make something out of it,” Wynn said.

Throughout common hour, there was a variety of entertainment. Rock Royalty, dancers, poets and singers all shared their talents in representing Black History Month and what it meant to them.

The slam poets performed a piece focused on what African Americans face daily. They address stereotypes and insults from those who don’t respect them. The poetry projects that the color of your skin has nothing to do with your actions and they hope that all will see and understand everyone is worthy of being on this planet.

Afterward, Booker spoke about her recent project, “When We See Us.” This campaign’s purpose is for students to acknowledge one another for who they are. Booker explained that over winter break she had watched a Netflix documentary, “When They See Us,” inspiring this idea and taking her own spin on it for Black History Month.

“When They See Us” is a Netflix mini series that is a story of the central park five. The show is based in 1989 and focuses on an act of assault and rape in New York’s Central Park and those who were charged. It was co-written and directed by Ava DuVernay and has won an Emmy Award.

Twenty four events will be going on over the course of this month. Students can get involved by attending the events.

Ashley Kaiser is a junior converged journalism major. She is a content creator for WSRU-TV and co-anchors the show Around The Rock Sports.

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