Celebrating Black History Month at UNI

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a month dedicated to recognizing the central role of blacks in the history of the United States.

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.

UNI’s Black Student Union has organized events throughout the month of February as part of Black History Month, and all students are invited to attend.

The events, in chronological order, are as follows:

Black History Month

UNI’s Black Student Union has organized events throughout the month of February as part of Black History Month, and all students are invited to attend.

Thursday, Feb. 1: “Flash Mob,” noon, Maucker Union. The purpose of the flash mob is to surprise students with an attractive performance that is focused on increasing awareness of the culture, various challenges (e.g., stereotypes, racism and oppression), and achievements the people of the black community endure and have overcome. This event is in collaboration with the Center for Multicultural Education (CME).

Friday, Feb. 2: “Night at the Apollo,” 7 to 10 p.m., Lang Hall Auditorium. “Night at the Apollo” is one of New York’s most popular live entertainment experiences, attracting performers and audiences from all over the world. The classic competition is known for its notoriously “tough” audience, gleefully deciding who will “be good or be gone” to win the grand prize. Students are invited to come out and showcase their talents, whether they are poets, rappers, singers, dancers, etc. This event is in collaboration with the Center for Multicultural Education.

Monday, Feb. 5: “Same, Same, Different,” 6 to 8 p.m., Maucker Union Coffeehouse. This dialogue will highlight the similarities and differences between African and African American history and culture, and how the two groups are viewed today. This event is open to all UNI students. Students will acquire knowledge about the similarities and differences of both cultural backgrounds following an open discussion. This event is in collaboration with the Center for Multicultural Education and African Union.

Friday, Feb. 9: “Throwback Skate Party,” 7 to 10 p.m., Wellness Recreation Center Lower Courts. This will be a disco skate party with skates provided. There will be 70s music played and 70s era facts displayed. There will be a 70s best dressed contest and best skater contest.

Monday, Feb. 12: “Motown Get Down Lip Sync Battle,” 6 to 8 p.m., Lang Hall Auditorium. This event will consist of a lip syncing competition using music from their favorite artists from the Motown Era. Students can compete individually or in a duo to see whose lip syncs are better.

Wednesday, Feb. 14: “Sip & Paint,” 7 to 9 p.m., West Towers Lounge. This event will feature art instructors guiding a class through step-by-step instructions on how to create a masterpiece. It will provide a fun but relaxing time by painting and sipping a sparkling beverage with friends. We often, as adults, forget that it is important to be creative, and that it is proven to be beneficial to our mind, our spirit and our health. In the casual scene of Sip and Paint classes, adults allow themselves time to just have fun. No painting experience necessary! This event is in collaboration with the Center for Multicultural Education.

Wednesday, Feb. 21: “Tunnel of Oppression,” 6 to 9 p.m., Lang Hall basement classrooms. This event will focus on the various types of oppression of African Americans, from slavery to discrimination. Each classroom will display scenes of oppression, featuring a real life reenactment putting the student in the scene to give them a true experience. The Tunnel of Oppression rooms will tentatively include a microaggressions, colorism, check your privilege, black lives matter vs all lives matter, hair room, slave room, layers of the black and LGBTQ community, and a counseling room for debrief sessions.

Thursday, Feb. 23: “Poetry Showcase,” 6 to 9 p.m., Lang Hall Auditorium. Poetry became prominent in black culture during the Harlem Renaissance. Poetry was and is used as a form of art for protest, advocacy, testimony, awareness and emotional expression. This event gives students a space to feel brave and safe while being honest and vulnerable with their community.

Saturday, Feb. 25: “Gospel Concert and Soul Food Dinner,” 2 to 5 p.m., Wesley Foundation Center. “Soul food” is a specific type of food or cuisine traditionally prepared and eaten by African Americans of the southern United States. Many of the various dishes and ingredients included in soul food are also regional meals.The style of cooking originated during American slavery years. Traditional black gospel is music that is written to express either personal or communal beliefs regarding African American Christian life and can be dated back to American slavery years as a means to cope with harsh conditions. We will host a concert with local special guests.

Tuesday, Feb. 27: “You Good?,” 6 to 8 p.m., Georgian Lounge in Commons. It is important to educate people about the habits and behaviors that are a part of domestic violence. The Black Student Union will be collaborating with Amani Services for this event. Amani Community Services is a culturally specific domestic violence and sexual assault agency serving African Americans in Black Hawk and Linn Counties.

Wednesday, Feb. 28: “Speaker: Jason Sole,” 6 to 8 p.m., Sabin Hall, Room 002. Jason Sole is an assistant professor at Metropolitan State University. He is a national keynote speaker and has both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice. He will be speaking about his experience as an African American black male. He will highlight obstacles and barriers faced through poverty and incarceration while also highlighting how education changed his life and where he is at today.

Saturday, March 3: “Black Gala,” 7 to 10 p.m., Commons Ballroom. This reception will feature speakers who will remind attendees about where African Americans came from and to be grateful for it, but to also continue to move forward and be transformational leaders. The Black Student Union will also take the time out to recognize all of the people who helped make the month’s events successful.