This February marks the 38th anniversary of Black History Month, brought to Indiana University of Pennsylvania by the African American Cultural Center.
The AACC will be organizing events such as the opening reception with Sybrina Fulton – mother of Trayvon Martin and co-founder of the Trayvon Martin Foundation – and Michael Skolnik, editor-in-chief of GlobalGrind.com and other celebrations to educate students on the accomplishments that the African- American culture has achieved in our nation’s history.
“The programs are designed to facilitate awareness and conversation on how we can continue or move forward in terms of diversity excellence,” said Dr. Carolyn Princes, the associate dean of Students for Multicultural Affairs and director of the AACC.
“The overall purpose of the month is to recognize the achievements of those who went before us and those who made a contribution that makes an impact in not only African-Americans but Americans in general,” Princes said. “These programs give them an opportunity to appreciate the celebration and see what we can do to move things forward in diversity.”
Some students and members of the AACC spoke about events they’re anticipating in February.
“I am looking forward to the brown-bag discussions that the African American Cultural Center is hosting on certain days (Feb. 17 and 25) during the month of February and until April” said Ruth Walker (senior, natural science). “This is a time during lunch where anyone can come into the multicultural room in Delaney during lunch time and talk about sensitive topics.”
With numerous events being held during the month, Cory Palek, a second-year graduate student in the applied archaeology program and member of the AACC spoke on conveying a message to the IUP student body.
“The important message that I would like to convey to the IUP student body about the significance of Black History Month is that African- American history is American history,” Palek said. “This concept may seem simple and obvious to some, but it is important to remember that even if you are not African-American, the history is still important to the development of the United States as a nation and to everyone as citizens of this country.
“Secondly, this is a time to reflect upon where we have been as a people, where we are now and where we are going in the future. The history of African-Americans is embedded in the history of the United States. In order to fully understand where we are headed as a people we must first understand our past and more importantly the history of individuals that are different from ourselves.”