Beginning with a university-wide observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the University of Connecticut will celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February.
The Honorable Richard A. Robinson, the first African-American Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, was the keynote speaker at the “Dr. MLK Jr. Living Legacy Convocation,” held at Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday night.
The “Black History Month Opening” will be on Feb. 7 from 6-9 pm in the Student Union Ballroom. The opening, hosted by the African American Cultural Center, will showcase achievements of black people across the globe, highlighting the impact these achievements have had on UConn students and staff, according to the Daily Digest.
The AACC, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary, will also host events such as the “Mr. and Miss AACC Pageant” and a Soul Food Cinema Series, “which pairs a delicious soul food dinner with films of academic and cultural worth,” according to the AACC website.
Some African-American identifying students say the presence of Black History Month is significant, as it both highlights African American culture across campus and the strides UConn still has left to make.
“It’s cool that there’s a month dedicated to black history, but I would like to see more action taken year-round really,” second-semester economics major Josh Onyirimba said, “…for things like gun violence for instance, and equal opportunity.”
The AACC prides itself on celebrating African American culture year-round, and welcome visitation from all students in their cultural center, located on the fourth floor of the Student Union, according to the organization’s website.
“Cultural gaps are not intentional, but to me they can be apparent,” Onyirimba said, “A girl in orientation touched my hair, and I was like ‘Please don’t do that’.”
While the demographics of UConn’s student body is diverse, through the continued celebration of culture, as outlined in Black History Month, the unification of UConn students will only strengthen, Onyirimba said.
“It’s cool we have 30 days, but what about all of the other days in the year?,” Onyirimba said, “Let’s work to improve on those.”
Grace Burns is campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.