Every February, African American History Month takes over to celebrate the courage and strength of African Americans throughout U.S. history. Better known as Black History Month, the month of February gives the proper historic recognition and attribution to the African American community.
Carter G. Woodson’s “Negro History Week” was founded in 1925 by his organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). The event began in February of 1926 and received an overwhelming amount of support. The annual celebration became a huge part of African American culture and eventually expanded into a month-long celebration in 1976, ratified by former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford.
Tyree M. Vance, interim coordinator for the African American Student Center at Cal Poly Pomona, strives to incorporate diversity within the African American Student Center. His focus is not only black people, but all types of people, as anyone is welcomed to the cultural center, regardless of skin color.
“It’s not just something that we just do in February,” Vance said. “This center specifically is here to celebrate our students. We have a wide range of students, it could really be, instead of the African American Student Center, it could be called the Pan-African student (as) we have students from all over, all types of shades, languages (and) everything. We do that all year.”
Vance continues to bring meaning to the black culture by empowering students to be proud of who they are and where they came from.
“I love being black. I wouldn’t change that for the world,” said second-year apparel merchandising and management student Mikayla Ford. “Black History Month is just a time of embracing who you are and not being ashamed of it.”
“Strength, it means heritage (and) hope,” Vance said. “Black history, our history, is a significant part of American history. We’re like, ingrained in the fabric of America, and so, my blackness has never held me back, and I’m happy to be black.”
The African American Student Center is open for students to come together and relax, do homework, assist with upcoming events and much more. Many students spend their time in the center between classes. The students and staff unite and give each other strength, knowing that they can relate to one another. The history of this month proves that with unity, the African American community can stand strong together.
“Black History Month to me is a chance for us to kind of come together and unite and recognize everything that has been done for us leading up to this point,” said Michael Kalu, a fourth-year electrical engineering student. “It’s interesting because, even as a 22-year-old, I’m still learning things about black history that I wasn’t taught in school, and it’s just a great time to celebrate and keep moving forward.”
In light of Black History Month, CPP’s African American Student Center has set up a host of events to ensure that the recognition of many great black pioneers is given through empowering students to utilize their many different abilities.
Some upcoming events on campus to take part in celebrating this month include:
Feb. 17: Blerd (Black Nerd) Week: Black Book Exchange from noon to 1 p.m. in the African American Student Center.
•#AnimeBlerds Power Hour from noon to 1 p.m in the African American Student Center.
•Mental Health Chats from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the African American Student Center.
Feb. 19: Blerd Week: Skill Exchange from noon to 1 p.m. in the African American Student Center.
•Black Cosplay Social Hour from noon to 1 p.m. in the African American Student Center.
•GRRLS Night: #BlackGirlMagic from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Womxn’s Resource Center.
•Melinated Households from 6 to 8 p.m. in the African American Student Center.
Feb. 26: Black Heritage Speaker: Bob Moses from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Bronco Student Center, Ursa Major.
•BAE Workshop from noon to 1 p.m. in the African American Student Center.
•Agua Caliente Clippers basketball game. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m. at the Toyota Arena.
Feb. 29: CPP Black Alumni & Friends community gathering from 10 a.m. to noon at the Kellogg House, Pomona.
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