The University of Connecticut’s African American Cultural Center (AACC) has a lot in store for Black History Month, which is celebrated during the month of February.
The AACC will have more than 20 events planned throughout the month including a sponsored appearance by actress Yara Shahidi, a screening of the movie “BlacKkKlansman” and an AACC beauty pageant.
The opening ceremony will take place on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom with singer, director and activist Bree Newsome as the keynote speaker.
Newsome is known for climbing the flagpole of the South Carolina State House and taking down the confederate flag in an act of protest.
Another big appearance during the Black History Month celebration is actress Yara Shahidi during the “A Conversation with Yara Shahidi” event.
The event is co-sponsored by SUBOG and the AACC and will take place on Feb. 9 at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts.
“The Living Objects: African American Puppetry festival and symposium” will take place from Feb. 8-10 in sponsorship with The Ballard School of Puppetry.
The events include performances under the theme of the African American diaspora as well as a discussion on African Americans in puppetry.
The original Living Object exhibition’s co-curator, Dr. Paulette Richards, said the idea behind the exhibition was to showcase African American puppeteers as well as the evolution of object performance and black people.
“Despite the prohibition by slaveholders on the creation of figurative objects reflecting an African-derived worldview, African Americans nevertheless animated objects to represent their experiences and identity,” Richards said.
On Feb. 11 there will be a talk by sports journalist Claire Smith held in the Dodd Center. She became the first female Major League Baseball specialized reporter while working at the Hartford Courant.
The next day, former Denver Nuggets point guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, will hold a talk as part of UConn’s ongoing project entitled “Beyond the Field.”
The project was created by UConn sports management master’s student Wura Olusekun to examine topics such as race, gender and sexuality through the lens of sports.
Abdul-Rauf came into controversy in 1996 after choosing to sit during the national anthem at the beginning of games saying that the flag was a “symbol of oppression.”
The “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight, who is performing the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl, will be coming to the Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts on Feb. 16.
Other events for the month include a fashion show put on by the African Students Association, the Black Student Association Gala Royale, a beef patty sale with the Nubian Foxes dance team and a black women in STEM brunch.
The month-long celebration will come to a close on Feb 28 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom with a closing ceremony including keynote speaker Symone Sanders.
Sanders served as press secretary for the 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and is currently a commentator for CNN.
The director of the AACC, Dr. Willena Kimpson Price, said that Black History Month is an important time for black people to celebrate their identity.
“It gives a time to reflect on our accomplishments and on who we are,” Price said.
Price also said it's important to celebrate all history and that UConn is a great community to facilitate that.
“We celebrate people,” Price said. “We celebrate diversity. We celebrate inclusiveness.”
Gladi Suero is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.