A month when we celebrate and commemorate African-American people, culture, events, and of course, history; Black History Month is an important time, not just here in the Forest, but all over the country. Naturally, the college and some student clubs are putting on many events to celebrate this month, as well as to promote discussions surrounding the topic of race and diversity.
Most noteworthy is the talk that Malcolm X’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz, gave this week in the concert hall of the DoYo. The talk was was entitled “Growing Up X” and was on Shabazz’s new book of the same name, in addition to Shabazz’s continued efforts at activism, and the legacy of her parents. The talk was open to both members of the Drew Community and those off-campus, and the concert hall was filled to the brim as people listened, captivated by Shabazz’s words.
The talk was incredibly well received by Grace Odunsi (’20). She said, “The Growing Up X presentation was quite powerful. While the talk did focus on Malcolm X and his life, it also talked about how we as a people should stand up for morality, not just black-and-white, but right and wrong”.
Athena Nadim (‘20) added, “I learned that even with all the laws that are in place today, females are still not looked highly upon and I learned that we need to make that change now. What I took away from that, too, is that people should not have to be scared to express who they really are, because they are scared of people’s reaction.”
Nadim went on to say that, “It is no one else’s life than that one person and should not have an affect for anyone else. I also took how she talked to us about how much power females have and that sometimes nobody sees it. It made me think for myself with me being a female and the power within me. Lastly, that her father’s fight is not finished and she is continuing it and hopefully we can help and make the world a better place”.
Other events on campus in celebration of Black History Month include a fireside chat on the history of the Black Panther Party, hosted by KUUMBA, and Drew’s Freedom School’s Initiative, which focuses on the idea’s of acceptance, love, tolerance and justice. When asked how she will be celebrating Black History Month, Odunsi said, “I am attending as many diverse events as I can and also educating other people on the history of Black History Month”.
Though it is fantastic that there are events for Black History Month, and that there is an awareness in our community, it is the general consensus that there should be more events. Nadim stated, “I do think there should be more events to celebrate Black History Month on campus, because they are so important and so many people can learn new things that were unaware of it before. I think it is needed as well, considering what is happening in the world now, we need to be informed and appreciate what people in the past have gone through for us.”
Grace Odunsi also said, “I think there should be many more Black History Month events on campus considering that we have a whole month and that it will be really important in order to increase understanding and awareness of diversity on the campus”.