The importance of this year's Black Heritage Month celebration at the University of Colorado at Boulder might best be illustrated by the sea of faces that packed the National Mall in Washington, D.C., last month for the inauguration of the first black president of the United States of America.
Alphonse Keasley, assistant vice chancellor of campus climate and community engagement at CU-Boulder, said in a city with a high percentage of African-American residents such ceremonies are usually met with a sea of white faces. But not this year. Not for this president. People from the District of Columbia and from around the country lined the Mall and streets of Washington, D.C., this year.
"There were many more black folk that went out for the inauguration this time," said Keasley. "Even for people who don't normally pay attention to Black Heritage Month, I think they can have a renewed reason for paying attention this year. Hopefully, it will allow people to reflect on the changes that have happened over the centuries and have led to the election of President Obama."
The 2009 Black Heritage Month celebration, titled "Together We Can Accomplish Anything: The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas," will span the entire month of February and address issues from every corner of the African-American experience.
Keasley is quick to point out the history of African-Americans is the history of all U.S. citizens.
"It's a collective history," said Keasley. "This country is based on the labor of people who were not paid for it. They contributed mightily to the formation of the nation. That is American history. Black Heritage Month has always been about American development and the fortitude and contributions of American black people."
CU-Boulder Black Heritage Month Events
All events are free and open to the public except where noted.
Saturday, Feb. 7
"As We Forgive": Film and Discussion
Presented by filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson
7-10 p.m., University Memorial Center room 235
This film tells the story of two women in Rwanda and their attempts to forgive the men who committed genocide in 1994 against their families. The murderers killed one out of eight Rwandans during this time. The prison system has since released some of these murderers back into the streets and communities they once terrorized.
Tuesday, Feb. 10
Black Women in Activism: A Conversation
4-5:30 p.m., UMC 416
Join us for a discussion about past and current experiences of African-American women in activism. This is an opportunity to hear from others and share your stories.
Sponsored by: Women's Resource Center
Wednesday, Feb. 11
Black History Trivia Game and Chili Pot
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., SORCE Senior Dedication Lounge, UMC 227
Sponsored by: Student Outreach Retention Center for Equity (SORCE)
Wednesday, Feb. 11
"Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin": Film and Discussion
Presenters: Queer People of Color (QPOC) and Steph Wilenchek
5-7 p.m., UMC 457
This film documents the life of Bayard Rustin, a leader in the civil rights movement and key adviser to Martin Luther King Jr., who was denied public recognition because of his sexual orientation. A viewing of the film will be followed by a discussion.
Friday, Feb. 13
Meet and Greet Reception
5-8 p.m., CU's Student Recreation Center
Sponsored by: Black Student Association (BSA)
Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 16-17
14th Annual CU-Boulder Diversity Summit
"Join the Call for Inclusive Excellence through Local Action"
9 a.m.-5 p.m., UMC
Sponsored by: Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Minority Affairs (CACMA)
Wednesday, Feb. 18
Afro-Cuban Dance Class
5-6:30 p.m., UMC 457
Sponsored by: Dennis Small Cultural Center (DSCC)
Thursday, Feb. 19
The African Experience
4-5 p.m., UMC 457
Co-hosted by: African Students Association (ASA)
Sponsored by the Dennis Small Cultural Center (DSCC)
Sunday, Feb. 22
Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.
4 p.m., Glenn Miller Ballroom (UMC)
Presented by: CU-Boulder College of Music
The program will feature oration from Martin Luther King Jr's speeches by campus faculty and staff as well as choral selections by the University Singers and University Choir.
Tuesday, Feb. 24
"Traces of Trade"
6-8 p.m., UMC 386
Presented by: Ghada Kanafani Elturk
In "Traces of Trade," producer/director Katrina Browne tells the story and traces the trade of her forefathers, the largest slave trading family in U.S. history. The film follows Ms. Browne and nine family members on a remarkable journey, which brings them face-to-face with the history and legacy of New England's hidden enterprise.
Wednesday, Feb. 25
17th Annual Soul Food Dinner
Sponsored by: CU Housing and Dining Services
5-7 p.m., Kittredge Dining Center
Free for students with a meal plan. Pricing information for others is available at www.colorado.edu/cu-diversity/cma/events.htm.
32nd Annual Big XII Conference on Black Student Government
University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas
For more information, call Debra Frazier, Center for Multicultural Affairs-ODECE at 303-492-2168 or visit www.colorado.edu/cu-diversity/cma/events.htm.