February is upon us, and that means several things. It’s Black History Month, a time to celebrate and learn more about the multicultural things happening in the United States and around the world. It’s a reminder of the incredible power that diversity can have in a culture that is often obsessed with conforming.
To celebrate the great contributions of African Americans to history all over the world, NW will be holding specific chapels and Ned Talks during the month of February. Coming to speak in such events in the coming weeks is NW alumni Christian Butler, the program director of New Start Recovery, who happens to have founded the multicultural group known as La Mosaic which still exists on campus, and Brandon Leake, the founder of Called to Move, an organization that inspires individuals to find their purpose in life through the arts. Leake is also known for being an artistic educator and a spoken word poet from Stockton, California. At the end of the month, NW will be hosting a poetry slam event with Leake which will acknowledge the celebration of Black History.
When asked what students should be mindful of during this month, Rahn Franklin, the direcotr of multicultural student development said, “Though the month-long event reminds us to celebrate the many contributions and achievements of African American men and women throughout our nation’s history, we remain committed to celebrating the interwoven role of African American achievements that is inseparable from the entirety of American history.”
Franklin speaks into the truth that black history is more than just a part of American history; they are bound together entirely.
“Black History Month is more than a couple of days in the year; it represents an unapologetic embracing of the history of the African diaspora,” Franklin said.
Franklin reminds us that February acts as an anniversary for black history, not an observance. Simply by living in a country so connected with the joy, pain and breakthroughs of African-American history, we are observing that history each and every day. Franklin went on to say that some have even termed February “Black Futures Month” as it is a springboard into conversation of how the future of diversity in America will look.
“Students are invited to embrace invitations to engage with each of our guests outside of the chapel space,” Franklin said.
For those who would like to learn more about black history or get involved themselves, Franklin recommends looking up George Washington Carver and his impact on Iowan agriculture. It will hit close to home. Another place to get started is the African American History Month web portal, which is bursting with specific people and inventions to read about.
It’s in this time of celebrating, remembering and looking toward the future that what George Washington Carver said rings truer than ever: “I love humanity, and all humanity who is struggling to be something and somebody. I am not interested in hair, nationality, etcetera. I like all of God’s work. So, may we continue to pray and love one another more and more if possible as time moves on.”
Look in next week’s Beacon for a full story on Brandon Leake.