Like you might already know, February is Black History Month. Black History Month is an amazing opportunity to learn more about African American experiences, to elevate black voices, and to immerse yourself in African American culture. Everyone can celebrate Black History Month – not just POCs. By making an effort to educate yourself and recognize your privilege, you can be an ally to African Americans everywhere and help fight racism in this country. Here are some ideas on how to celebrate Black History Month on campus and in your community!
Attend events held by black student-run organizations
At Bentley, our black student-run orgs have been doing an amazing job organizing events that celebrate their African American cultures. For example, Bentley’s African Student Association just hosted their annual gala the New Africa, Karibu Nyumbani. Complete with performamces from African dance groups like BC’s Patu and BU’s Afrithms, music from black artists like Dr. Jay or African drumming group Fafali, the ASA gala and it’s E-Board always do the best job curating an amazing line up of African American performers. Be on the lookout for their videos and pictures of the event if you weren’t able to go or if you’re hoping you got in some shots – with photographer Kwame Blue and videographer KD Cinematic, you know there’s going to be some sick pictures from the night.
ASA isn’t the only black student-run org that has been killing it on campus recently. Bentley’s Black United Body just collaborated with four other African-student orgs in the area to hold a huge party in Boston. Open to students from Bentley, MIT, Tufts University, Simmons University, and Bentley University with music by DJ King Collins, Snapchat stories from that night prove that it was the place to be.
But these amazing events aren’t only during February. BUB’s annual fashion show is next month and with black designers, performers, and our own Bentley students walking, the BUB Fashion Show is one of the coolest events that the spring semester has to offer. Pop out in your chic-est attire and get ready to hype up the models.
Support Black-Owned Businesses
While we should make an effort to support black-owned businesses all year-round, BHM is a perfect time to start if you haven’t checked out any black-owned brands before. For Bentley students and other college students in the Greater Boston area, here is a list of black and brown-owned businesses in the Boston area. Complete with locations, phone numbers, and company contacts, this list by the City of Boston from Mayor Michelle Wu is a great place to start if you’re looking for anything from catering, a new yoga studio, or even a facial!
Most importantly, no matter your background, we should all devote some time to educating ourselves on the African American experience this BHM. Whether you like to watch, read, or explore, there are so many ways to learn more from African American voices. For example, earlier this month the Bentley Library released a list of books by African American authors available through the Bentley Library ranging from fiction to nonfiction to autobiographies. If you’re more interested in the history behind BHM and the black experience, check out their racial justice resources page complete with even more books, films, articles, and research databases.
While we cannot all relate to the experiences of black Americans, we cannot let our own identities stop us from understanding others. While Black History Month is a celebration of African American voices and cultures, we also must remember that the continued fight for equality and justice also rests in our hands. While some of us might not be adding to the problem, we are only letting these issues continue if we do not actively try to fight this injustice. Black History Month is not just a time to learn and celebrate the black experience, but also a time to recognize how our own identities have added to the black experience, and how we can use our identities to support others.