Black History Month, now changed to Black Liberation Month, acknowledges “Black people continuing or beginning the journey of gaining the knowledge of self that is so vital to our becoming successful, self-sufficient people,” according to Douglas Smith, coordinator for the African American Center for Academic Excellence (AACAE).
Humboldt State University acknowledges Black Liberation Month with a set of events throughout campus. There will be speakers like Dr. Cornel West, Ilyasah Shabazz daughter of Malcom X, Modi, Lawrence Ross, and more.
There will be events hosted by Black Humboldt, a stage reading of Amiri Baraka’s “The Dutchman”, as well as a visit by the Urban Griot Collective, an interactive music experience.
Black Humboldt started in April of 2018, and this year they are holding a dancehall workout. Everyone is welcome to join this cardio-based workout that incorporates West Indian choreography to Reggae, dancehall (Jamaican popular music), and hip hop music.
… we receive an education that fails to examine the contributions of people of the African diaspora at any depthDouglas Smith, Coordinator for the AACAE
There will be a series of discussions in collaboration with the Formerly Incarcerated Students Club (FISC), with a panel discussion talking about re-entry, where several speakers will present about life after incarceration, and the struggles they faced. The other being a discussion, “Liberate the Caged Voices” where the topic is prisoners’ human rights.
“The events were chosen because they each look at different aspects of the Black experience, history and culture…[Student’s] perspectives provided the inspiration to bring in people who speak to the topics, feelings and ideas Black students expressed in those conversations,” Smith said.
“The events are important because they inform Black people and non-Black people alike. As Americans who attend schools in the U.S., we receive an education that fails to examine the contributions of people of the African diaspora at any depth.”
For Smith, this is especially important because it serves as something meaningful for students and members of the community.
Black Liberation Month means highlighting important African American people and events that have happened in history. It serves as a reminder that society and the world have made it as far as it has in history, and there’s only more to be done.
The AACAE collaborated with FISC to get events on campus.
“FISC plays into this because we have generations of black and brown human beings uprooted from their communities and thrown into jails and prisons,” said Tony Wallin, president of FISC. “We are working towards reversing the school to prison pipeline and creating a prison to university pipeline.”
During a time where minority groups are being targeted and unrepresented, an acknowledgment like Black Liberation Month is critical. Smith says that the lack of representation can be harmful to people, especially with the narrative that African Americans stereotypically get.
“This ultimately impairs the ability of students across the U.S. to critically analyze and think about power, privilege, and prosperity,” said Smith.
Having a collaboration like this between the AACAE and FISC shows the unification of underrepresented groups and how they can work together to make change.
For more information on events visit aacae.humboldt.edu.