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Worcester State University Celebrates Black History Month

January 31, 2018
By: Ashley Downes

Worcester State University will be celebrating Black History Month – February – with a series of events on campus. These events are coordinated by Third World Alliance, which is a student organization dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion.

The month-long programming kicks off on Friday, February 2, when the first episode of the 2016 History Channel miniseries, “Roots,” will be shown. Events continue next week, which students have dubbed “Black History Month Spirit Week,” in order to share enthusiasm and create a movement of support for people of color at WSU.

Events during Black History Month Spirit Week, February 5-9, include:

  • Rep Your Black Nation: Students are encouraged to express their cultural origins by wearing their traditional attire or fashion, paying homage to the African culture and diaspora all day on Monday, February 5.
  • Blackout Shirt Decorations: Students can design T-shirts inspired by Black History Month. T-shirts and decorating supplies are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and they are free for WSU students. The event will be held Tuesday, February 5, in the Learning Resource Center (L-169) from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Blackout: On Tuesday, February 6, students are encouraged to wear their Black History Month-inspired T-shirts around campus.
  • 4th Annual African American Read-In Day with WSU Alumna Susan Harris O’Connor ’85, MSW, LICSW: On Wednesday, Feb. 7, in the May Street Building Banquet Hall at 10:30 a.m., Susan Harris O’Connor will speak as part of the national African American Read-In (more here). O’Connor is a leading voice in transracial adoptions and is author of the book, The Harris Narratives: An Introspective Study of a Transracial Adoptee. O’Connor’s narratives have been performed in numerous venues and featured as part of the Harvard Medical Conference series, Smith College Summer lecture series, Boston Medical Center psychiatry grand rounds, as well as at Yale Law and NAACP-sponsored events. The Read-In is a National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) recognized event. Since the 1990’s, the NCTE and the Black Caucus of the NCTE have promoted African American Read-In Day to encourage schools, universities, and churches to celebrate literacy work by African American authors. Co-sponsors of the talk include the English Department, Admissions Department, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and History & Political Science Department at WSU.
  • Black Hair Appreciation Day: Black men and women’s hair have been scrutinized by other societal cultures. On Wednesday, February 7, Black History Month organizers would like to celebrate the ways in which black men and women take care of their hair by encouraging students to rock the du-rags, bonnets, hair clips, headwraps, etc.
  • Student Only Forum, Thursday, February 8 (This event replaces an event that had previously been promoted as a Racial Identity potluck dinner.) In light of the defacing of a poster in a residence hall that took place in January, several student leaders are inviting fellow students to a forum at 3:30 p.m. in the Blue Lounge, Student Center. This event is led by students and is for students only. All students are invited to the forum, and those interested in attending a dinner following it may email Resident Assistant and Campus Climate Committee member Lauren Brown at lbrown5@worcester.edu. Third World Alliance member Manasseh Konadu and Student Government Association President Monica Bhakhri are also organizing this event.
  • The Screenings of Roots: On Friday, February 9, the “Roots” miniseries continues, with Episode 2. (Episodes 3 and 4 will continue at the same time and place on Friday, Feb. 16 and Friday, Feb. 23.) This is an adaptation of Alex Hayley’s book that tells an account of an African man sold to slavery in the United States. The screenings will be held in the Student Center, South Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public, and snacks will be provided.

In addition to these activities, more will be held the remainder of the month, including:

  • Paint Night-The Black Arts: This event will take place on Tuesday, February 13 in the North Auditorium, Student Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale fro $3 dollars at the Information Desk in the Student Center for (includes all materials and snacks).
  • Black History Month Speaker, Charles Clayton Daniels Jr. MSW, LICSW: Charles Clayton Daniels is a Clinical Social Worker from the Boston area who is the founder of an organization named Fathers’ Uplift that has focused on the mentorship of ALANA (African, Latino/a/Hispanic, Asian, and Native American) males. He has been featured on The Guardian, WBUR, Boston’s NPR Radio Station and News Station, and CBS Boston. This is an interactive workshop intended for black men of WSU. Workshop is free, but RVSP is required by emailing mkondau1@worcester.edu. The workshop will be held on Thursday, February 15, in LRC (L-169) at 5:30 p.m.
  • African Dancing Fitness: This is a full-body workout while learning to move to the beats of West African Music (Ghanaian). It’s a cultural experience that will leave you feeling energized while releasing stress and strengthening your body. It will be held on Tuesday, February 27th in the Wellness Center (Room 204) from 6 p.m to 8 p.m. Experience is not necessary.
  • Black History Month Poetry Slam: The organizers will feature WSU’s poets and their original works on Wednesday, February 28 in the Blue Lounge at 6 p.m. This event is based on the tradition of storytelling of historical and significant community and/or family events. If you are interested in participating, please email mkondau1@worcester.edu.

Ashley Downes is an intern in WSU’s Campus Communications office.

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