UCSB will play host to a series of events this month to commemorate the 32nd annual Black History Month.
Events will kick off with the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at noon on the lawn of what was formerly the Women’s Center. The event, co-hosted by the African diasporic Cultural Resource Center and the Black Student Union, will follow this year’s theme, Carter G. Woodson and the Origins of Multiculturalism.
Woodson was a noted black journalist, historian and author who conceived the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History in 1915. The association determines the yearly theme for the month, which first occurred in 1976.
Additionally, on Feb. 11, Bobby Bradford and the Mo’Tet will perform in the MultiCultural Center Theater. On Feb. 12, a free anonymous HIV testing day will take place at the Student Resource Building, and on Feb. 27, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will host a “Will of Culture” workshop.
AdCRC Coordinator Candice Brooks said the topic is meant to push the UCSB community to examine the implications of multiculturalism.
“[Woodson] is the pioneer, the trailblazer of Black history,” Brooks said. “But multiculturalism as a topic really allows us to bring more exposure to what the word ‘culture’ means. Normally when you hear multiculturalism, you think of the melting pot of race and ethnicity in America – we are utilizing this year’s theme to think a little more critically about what is multiculturalism.”
Black Student Union Co-chair Amber Bailey said today’s preliminary event will set the tone for the upcoming honorary month of festivities.
“The opening ceremony is going to be a really exciting start to the whole month,” Bailey said. “There will be poetry performances, a speaker about this year’s theme, food and socializing.”
According to Brooks, this year is unique in that Santa Barbara County will officially recognize February as Black History Month, something that it has previously not done.
“Black History Month has never before been recognized by Santa Barbara County,” Brooks said. “This year is unique because the county is holding a formal resolution and reception Feb. 5 to officially recognize Black History Month.”
In addition to today’s festivities, the AdCRC and the BSU, along with several other student groups, will host events throughout February in honor of Black History Month.
The calendar includes a showing of “No! Confronting Sexual Assault in our Communities,” a documentary about the impact of sexual assault and violence on black women, Brooks said.
“The documentary pertains to many important considerations, such as sexual assault and violence, specifically aimed at the black community,” Brooks said. “This is a subject not often covered in the black community.”
According to Brooks, the month’s agenda of festivities was not possible without the joint effort of numerous student organizations.
“There are so many different players organizing events for the month,” Brooks said. “It really is a campus collaboration in the biggest, broadest sense.”
The Black History Month closing ceremony will take place Feb. 28, Bailey said, honoring Dr. Woodson as well as UCSB’s African-American faculty and staff.
“We’re continuing the legacy [of Dr.Woodson],” Bailey said. “We want this month to honor African-Americans on this campus for their contribution to the community as a whole.”