With 2012 being a leap year, the NIU community will have an extra day in February to revel in, learn about and focus on Black Heritage Month.
Organizers say they will need every hour of that day to remind students and faculty of the national and international contributions African-Americans have made to politics, the arts, education and life in general.
Coincidentally, that extra day comes during a milestone year for the annual remembrance.
“This is the 40th anniversary of the Center for Black Studies,” said LaVerne Gyant, director of the center and professor in the NIU Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education. “People should know the black legacy and its historical contributions of black leadership, past and present.”
This year’s theme is “Continuing the Legacy of Academic Excellence and Social Responsibility.”
Planned gatherings include the Afrocentric Fashion Show, a play penned by NIU undergraduate student Cedric Jon Florence and an Ebony Women panel discussion. Some will be entertaining and some will be informative, said Van Amos, the center’s program director, but all will be educational.
“We want to make NIU’s students, faculty and staff members know the struggles and the successes of black people from all walks of life,” Amos said.
Opening ceremonies are planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, the first day of events.
A panel titled “Re-establishing the Legacy” will take place in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium of Holmes Student Center. Panelists will discuss the past, current and future of African-American leadership on campus.
Members of the panel are still being sought, Amos said. Students and faculty interested should call (815) 753-1709.
A calendar detailing the activities throughout the month is available online. Many of the events, including the discussion, are free. All are open to the public.
Events are sponsored by the Aarons, ASA, Black Student Union, B.M.I., B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S, C.A.B., Center for Black Studies, NIU’S Graduate School, S.I.S.T.E.R.S., NAACP, C.P.G., Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Gamma, Rho, Student Association, Student Affairs, PPMO, Ebony Women, Phi Beta Sigma, Health Enhancement, B.F.A., C.O.E., C.L.L.A.S., I.C.B.H.E., Phi Rhoi Eta, Zeta Phi Beta, Resurrection Records and Talented Tenth.
For more information about any event, call (815) 753-1709 or email [email protected].
by Gerard Dziuba