Northwest celebrates Black History Month every February by hosting various events that educate others on African American culture.
The national theme for Black History Month this year is the Black Migration.
Over the past week, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office has held events such as the Northwest Symphony Orchestra with Violinist Richmond Punch and The Great Debaters movie and discussion.
The annual Soul Food Dinner that was supposed to take place last Saturday, was canceled due to inclement weather conditions. The Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Justin Mallett said it will not be rescheduled.
The purpose of having Punch perform with the Northwest Symphony was to show diversity within other aspects of Black History. The symphony played Afro-American music by William Grant Still, which was purchased by DEI.
Former Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Juanita Simmons said she wished everyone could have experienced Punch’s performance with the Northwest Orchestra.
“It would’ve been probably a great experience for all of the community, for campus, for students,” Simmons said. “Particularly students of color, so they could broaden themselves about their own culture.”
Mallett said these events are important for the community.
“The main thing is to provide education,” Mallett said. “I really hope that not only our faculty, staff and students but the community, take advantage of these learning opportunities and listen to what’s being presented.”
Public speaker and author, Latrese Adkins Weathersby, was scheduled to speak at the Soul Food Dinner. Weathersby is familiar with the Black Migration.
The DEI office will continue to host its annual Black History Month movie series and discussion. DEI will be showing “Pride” and “Boyz n the Hood.”
DEI will also host “What Would You Do?” This event was scheduled for Feb. 7 but was postponed due to inclement weather. Mallett will present different cultural situations and ask the audience what they would do in these situations.
Junior Class Representative Kenyatta Johnson said she feels everyone should educate themselves about different backgrounds.
“We need to be able to learn about everyone’s differences and their stories in order to come together as a society,” Johnson said. “As much as we need to learn about Native American and Hispanic culture, they need to learn about African American history as well.”
Simmons acknowledged the people who have attended the Black History Month events in the past.
“I see the same supporters, the same faculty, students and individuals from the community supporting these events, bringing their families and educating their children,” Simmons said. “It should be everyone’s responsibility to educate themselves about these events.”
Vice President of Minority Men’s Organization Prentiss Smith said there can never be too many Black History Month events.
“It is important for us to know our history and keep being reminded so we never forget and know where we come from,” Smith said. “It’s important to have other students who may not be Black to understand the reason why we protest and why we speak up about things because these leaders during that time did it. We’re trying to do it now so we can fight for equality for all.”