February ushers in the celebration of Black History Month across the nation. Shippensburg University students, faculty, staff and administrators are hosting a variety of programming with opportunities to learn, celebrate and talk.
SU Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Manuel Ruiz said Black History month initially began as a celebration of the work of Dr. Carter G. Woodson.
“We celebrate Black History Month to honor the work of Dr. Carter G Woodson, a Harvard educated historian, who in 1926 ushered into the American experience a celebration of the accomplishments of Black Americans,” Ruiz said in an email.
In the years following, the celebration became Black History Month as Americans Americans know it today.
“February holds great significance,” Ruiz said. In the past two centuries, the 15th amendment was passed, the first Black senator took his oath in office, four Black college students would refuse to leave a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the world would mourn the death of Malcom X, he explained.
Several campus groups including the Multicultural Student Association and African American Organization, as well as residence life are hosting events and programming throughout the month.
The Office of Equity, Inclusion and Compliance is partnering with professors each week for a virtual series called “Let Every Department Shine.”
SU political science professor Allison Dagnes and Chief Diversity Officer Stephanie Jirard partnered together to create the opportunities for discussion and learning. Host academic departments will hold the 30-minute sessions via Zoom on Thursdays and Fridays in February. A professor will present a notable Black or African American professional in their respective discipline, followed by a time of discussion or reflection, according to Jirard.
Let Every Department Shine’s goal is “to illuminate for the campus community the unsung heroes in each discipline,” Jirard said.
“As chief diversity officer, Black History Month is a reminder of the contribution of Black and African Americans to our country 12 months out of the year. It's like a touchstone. Not just a one and done,” Jirard said.
Other events include Peacekeepers training, Live at the Apollo, and the Black Experience Tribute (BET). The full list of events is available online at www.ship.edu/about/diversity/celebrate-diversity/