Campus organizations host Black History Month events, promote African American achievements


The Student Executive Council (SEC) and Student Equity Committee are hosting a variety of Black History Month events to teach students and staff more about Black history and culture.

Black History Month celebrates the accomplishments and struggles of African Americans throughout United States (U.S.) history. According to the Library of Congress, it began as Black History Week in 1926 and was created by African American historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson. He chose for it to land in February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two figures who played significant roles in African American equality. On Feb. 10, 1976, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month in a speech. “We can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,” he said.

“I wanted to organize something really nice because I haven’t seen it in the past.”

— Co-Diversity Commissioner junior Chania Rene-Corail

On Feb. 8, SEC hosted a speaker panel featuring Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Student Affairs Yolanda Conaway and Black Culture Club co-Presidents juniors Angelina Rosh and Lise Desveaux, who is also a Centerfold Editor for The Oracle. The panel was moderated by co-Diversity Commissioner junior Chania Rene-Corail. Future events this month will include trivia games with prizes, an event hosted in collaboration with Black Culture Club and a film festival presenting award-winning films of Black stories.

Rene-Corail is helping to organize this month’s events. “The Black community at Gunn isn’t celebrated all that much,” she said. “I know that in previous years, there weren’t many Black students on SEC or at least in positions to lead diversity events. I wanted to organize something really nice because I haven’t seen it in the past.”

Rene-Corail hopes that people will not only learn about African American history, but also everything that Black culture has tooffer today. “I think that when people hear the words ‘Black history,’ they think of slavery and the civil rights movement,” she said. “In my experience, our culture is so much more than just that. Those aspects of Black history should be highlighted, but I also wanted to highlight the nice parts of it, like the amazing artists we have.”

Rosh views the events as a way to celebrate Black voices. “We want to showcase Black culture in its most authentic form,” she said. “Many people don’t acknowledge that Black History Month is also celebrating culture and identity. We want to show different aspects like pop culture and different cultural practices such as stepping, a dance routine that the Black community takes part in.”

“We want to showcase Black culture in its most authentic form.”

— Black Culture Club co-President junior Angelina Rosh

Throughout the month, the Student Equity Committee has been posting weekly infographics on their Instagram page, featuring prominent Black Americans that have impacted society.

Student Equity Committee co-leader senior Madison Yue, who is also a Features Editor for The Oracle, hopes the posts can be a way for students to learn more about Black history. “If people want to get started learning about Black History Month, I would encourage them to look at our Student Equity Instagram,” she said. “It’s a great starting point for educating yourself on prominent Black figures who have contributed to U.S. history.”

Ultimately, Rosh hopes that this month’s events will bring more representation to the Black community. “Gunn has a student body willing to celebrate all cultures,” she said. “It’s important that we don’t leave out this community.”