Black History Month at George Washington University

February is a month of commemoration, acknowledgment, and reflection; it’s the month of honoring Black history. It is the cadence of celebration where glasses are raised to the symphony of freedom. This month of remembrance allows us to revisit the tales of our great ancestors’ struggle, passion, and fight that never ceases to inspire. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the triumphs of our predecessors and serves as a source of motivation and inspiration for present and future generations.

George Washington student, Sahalae Reese, highlighted in an interview, “As a Black student, Black History Month holds a special place in my heart as it gives me the opportunity to see and celebrate the accomplishments of those who came before me and serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for me to continue pushing for progress, self-betterment, and equality for all.”

GWU President’s Commitment

Black History Month is a necessary time to reflect on the contributions and achievements of the Black community. George Washington University is proud to acknowledge and celebrate the history and contributions of Black people, and the university’s president, Mark S. Wrighton, has expressed his commitment to supporting this vital work.

In a message to the GW community, President Wrighton acknowledged the importance of Black History Month and the need to pause, reflect, and come together to recognize the history and contributions of Black people. He expresses his pride in the university’s Black students, faculty, staff, and alums and his gratitude to all those in the GW community actively working toward racial justice and anti-racism.

Despite the recent events, including the senseless and brutal beating that resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols, President Wrighton remains confident that the GW community will come together to offer support and participate in events that uplift Black people. He looks forward to supporting this critical work and strengthening equitable and inclusive spaces and opportunities for members of the Black community both at GW and beyond.

When members of the Black Student Union were asked for their reactions to President Wrighton’s acknowledgments, George Washington student Ben Yimaj expressed, “The recent events, including the tragic loss of Tyre Nichols, serve as a reminder of how much work still needs to be done towards racial justice and equality. But I am grateful for leaders like President Wrighton who recognize the importance of Black History Month and stand in solidarity with the Black community at GW.”

GWU’s Commitment

George Washington University has dedicated a significant commitment to celebrating and recognizing the contributions of the African American community throughout the year, especially during Black History Month. The university hosts various events and programs that honor and acknowledge the achievements of Black individuals. The GW community is encouraged to attend student-led Black Heritage Celebration events, participate in initiatives that uplift Black people, and reflect on the significance of Black history and contributions.

George Washington University is joining the celebration with its annual Black Heritage Celebration, this year themed “Black to the Future: Our Revival and Rebirth.” With a calendar full of events, the GWU community is embracing the opportunity to educate, commemorate and celebrate Black life, history, art, and accomplishment.

The keynote speaker for the celebration is Amanda Seales, who will be speaking at the University Student Center’s Betts Theatre on February 1st at 6 P.M. The GW community will also have the opportunity to attend a Black History Month Movie Night on February 3rd, where the film “Do the Right Thing” will be shown at the District House Lounge. Other monthly events include a Sneaker Ball hosted by the Black Student Union, a student-led tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and a Better Black Future: The Progression of Black Women event.

One of the celebration’s highlights is Elena Richards’s visit on February 6. She will be speaking at the George Talks Business event, sharing her knowledge and experiences in the business world. Another notable event is the “Civic Engagement within Artistic Practice” on February 16, which will be held at the Flagg Building’s Hammer Auditorium. Robin Givhan, a pioneering journalist, and critic, will also be visiting GWU, giving a talk on the role of art and society.

More Celebrations and Events

GWU recognizes the importance of Black hair and its cultural significance. The Black Hair Showcase and Afrobeats Paint and Sip events are dedicated to celebrating and appreciating Black hair. The finale of the Black Heritage Celebration will take place on February 24 at The Gathering Spot, and Hairapeutic Beauty will be presenting Cuts for Kings and Finale Glam events. This event, organized by the university’s Black Student Union, features live performances by local artists, guest speakers, and a dinner to celebrate the contributions of Black individuals in the arts, politics, and other fields. Leading up to this event, students are anticipating the memories yet to be made on February 24.

Another essential tradition at GWU during Black History Month is the “Voices of the Community” series. This series brings together members of the Black community to share their experiences and perspectives on various topics, including history, culture, and current issues facing the Black community. The series includes multiple events, such as panel discussions, lectures, and workshops. These events provide a unique opportunity for the GWU community to learn from and engage with members of the Black community in a meaningful way.

In addition to these events, GWU also offers a variety of educational opportunities during Black History Month. For example, the university’s Africana Studies program provides a variety of courses on Black history and culture, including “African American History: From Slavery to Civil Rights” and “Black Feminism and Womanism.” The program also organizes a series of guest lectures by renowned scholars and experts in the field of African American studies.

Other Activities

The GWU Library also plays a vital role in celebrating Black History Month. The library hosts a special exhibit highlighting Black individuals’ contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The library staff curates the display and includes various materials such as books, articles, photographs, and other primary sources. The exhibition is open to the public and is an excellent resource for students, faculty, and community members who want to learn more about the contributions of Black individuals in these fields. The university also encourages staff and faculty to organize events and activities in their respective departments to celebrate and acknowledge Black History Month.

George Washington University is committed to recognizing and celebrating the contributions of the Black community. Through various events, educational opportunities, and community engagement, GWU is helping to raise awareness of the critical role that Blacks have played in shaping our society. The university’s efforts to celebrate Black History Month are essential to its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It creates a unique opportunity to celebrate Black life, history, and accomplishment to embrace a brighter future for the Black community.

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