Black History Month celebrated in multiple UI events throughout February

For the past month, campus organizations have celebrated Black History Month and African-American culture.

Kokoo+performs+during+the+Black+History+Month+Slam+Poetry+event+in+the+IMU+on+Thursday%2C+February+28%2C+2019.+The+event+was+hosted+by+The+Iowa+Edge+Student+Organization%2C+in+collaboration+with+Black+Art%3B+Real+Stories.
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Black History Month celebrated in multiple UI events throughout February

Kokoo performs during the Black History Month Slam Poetry event in the IMU on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The event was hosted by The Iowa Edge Student Organization, in collaboration with Black Art; Real Stories.

Kokoo performs during the Black History Month Slam Poetry event in the IMU on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The event was hosted by The Iowa Edge Student Organization, in collaboration with Black Art; Real Stories.

Lily Smith

Kokoo performs during the Black History Month Slam Poetry event in the IMU on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The event was hosted by The Iowa Edge Student Organization, in collaboration with Black Art; Real Stories.

Lily Smith

Lily Smith

Kokoo performs during the Black History Month Slam Poetry event in the IMU on Thursday, February 28, 2019. The event was hosted by The Iowa Edge Student Organization, in collaboration with Black Art; Real Stories.

Rachel Steil, News Reporter

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During February, University of Iowa organizations hosted a plethora of events to celebrate Black History Month, ranging from self-love discussions to displays of the works of African-American artists.

As part of the festivities, the College of Public Health screened the movies The Wiz and The Hate U Give. The Campus Activities Board also offered a Black History Month-theme make-and-take event at the IMU. The event allowed students to create their own buttons and Freedom Quilt patterns.

The Afro House presented a three-part Black Love Series, which consisted of discussions on the realities of love and marriage in the black community. The Afro House also hosted a showing of its project-video, “Afro Voices,” at the IMU, which emphasized the effect the Afro House has had on the UI population.

RELATED: Black Art: Real Stories to perform, wrapping up Black History Month

Black Art; Real Stories held a workshop at the Afro House dedicated to fostering a welcoming environment for all creative forms.

Lily Smith
Latrell performs during the Black History Month Slam Poetry event in the IMU on Feb. 28. The event was hosted by the Iowa Edge Student Organization in collaboration with Black Art; Real Stories.

The Center for Diversity & Enrichment collaborated with the Division of Student Life’s Being Black at Iowa Project to arrange this year’s Black in Business Series. The series included speaker UI graduate Kyra Seay, the special-project coordinator at Bumble.

UI senior T’Shailyn Harrington, a member of Iowa Edge, described the Black in Business events as spaces in which black professionals provide job, leadership, and mentorship opportunities to minority students.

“When you see someone who looks like you in a high profession, it gives you more confidence to go after [similar] positions,” Harrington said.

Events also focused on self-care. The Society of Black Graduate and Professional Students hosted an event on Feb. 12 aimed at discussing methods of self-love in the black community.

Chelsea Hicks, a second-year Ph.D. student at the Public Health College, said the event was about “learning how to appreciate yourself and love yourself and how to value yourself.”

The Iowa Edge and Black Art; Real Stories collaborated to organize a Black History Month slam poetry event on Feb. 28. The event included performances from UI students sharing spoken-word pieces and poetry.

“I want to use the slam poetry event as a way for people to come share their talent with other people.” Harrington said.

Lily Smith
UI sophomore Tiana Warner performs during the Black History Month Slam Poetry event in the IMU on Feb. 28. The event was hosted by the Iowa Edge Student Organization in collaboration with Black Art; Real Stories.

Though the event was held in celebration of Black History Month, Harrington made it clear that the event was open to all members of the UI community.

“I want other races to be there,” she said. “I want other races to enjoy the art.”

The celebration of Black History Month on campus is integral to strengthening the community’s foundation, Harrington said. She said that the events give minorities a space to come together to celebrate their identities and provides other ethnic groups with the opportunity to show appreciation for the talent of black students.

Both Harrington and Hicks said they would like to see the UI population do something together.

“There is beauty in understanding [history],” Hicks said. “If we walk around ignorant to the histories that we all share, then we are never going to be better than the generations that came before us.”