WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- Purdue University's Black Cultural Center is getting creative this Black History Month. In order to celebrate safely, the organization has created several virtual educational events.
BCC leaders say it is important this pandemic didn't stop the community from celebrating Black History Month. That's why they're providing a virtual option for people, and they're finding it's actually been positive in reaching even more people than in-person events have in the past.
Some of these virtual events include giving viewers an opportunity to learn an African-language, virtual dance and music performances, and educational conversations on various racial-topics. BCC leaders are encouraging everyone to tune into at least one event. They say this month is all about highlighting and celebrating the contributions Black people have made in the U.S.
These accomplishments don't always make the history books. That's why the BCC Director Renee Thomas said this month of recognition is imperative.
"It is critical that we continue to provide opportunities for our community to celebrate Black History Month," said Thomas. "Black history is American history, they are not separated, our country would not be what it is today without the contributions of African-Americans."
She is specifically calling on local educators to tune into these events and hopefully bring some of these lessons back to the classroom.
"West Lafayette public school system, Tippecanoe County public school system, there are always opportunities to integrate African-American and Black history into the curriculum and I want to encourage not only those school systems but even at Purdue University to recognize and celebrate the contributions of African-Americans," said Thomas.
Because of it being virtual, BCC is able to have some flexibility in extending these events throughout the Spring semester. Event speakers are both locally based and living out of state.
Purdue Black Cultural Spring Semester Calendar:
Purdue Black Cultural Center
Cultural Arts Series
Love, Language, and Liberation
After a year of uncertainty, physical distancing, and isolation we will kick off our 2021 Spring Semester getting back to the basics: Love, Language, & Liberation. Finding pathways to reconnect we will explore forms of communication through African and Creole languages; Black joy as resistance; community healing traditions for collective power, and the politics of freedom.
January 21 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture by Andrew Young Jr.
Former Ambassador Andrew Young is an ordained minister, international businessman, sports enthusiast, human rights activist, published author and former public servant. He was a top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and was elected to three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from the Fifth Congressional District of Georgia. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter named him as ambassador to the United Nations.
He later served two terms as mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, and in 1994 President Clinton appointed him to chair the Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund, a $100 million privately managed fund to provide equity to businesses in 11 countries in southern Africa. He was also co-chairman of the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996, and is currently chairman of GoodWorks International, a specialty consulting group based in Atlanta that provides strategic services to corporations and governments operating in the global economy.
Black History Month Theme: The Black Family Representation, Identity, and Diversity
January 17-February 28
City of Hope Exhibition - Resurrection City and the 1968 Poor People Campaign
City of Hope: Resurrection City & the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign commemorated the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s daring vision to end poverty in the United States. The exhibition encourages visitors to explore this important chapter in U.S. history.
February 1 & 15 - KiSwahil Basics | 12p – 1p
March 1 & 15
April 5 & 12
Join us on this amazing 8-week journey of discovering language and joy of learning KiSwahili. Our goal is to introduce the language, teach basic conversational skills, and share broader information on the history, culture, and heritage of East Africa.
Participants will master, the alphabet, basic greetings, basic numbering, and simple icebreaker conversations but the focus will be on a broadening experience rather than a deep dive into the language itself.
Black Music and Liberation
Everybody vs. Racism Podcast
Host: James Dekle
This podcast will feature Everybody vs. Racism, an artistic project by multi-medium Hip-Hop artist Lamingo Tomlin. Everybody vs. Racism delivers a liberating vision of empowerment for people who desire a more equitable society. Lamingo and his business partner Andrew Hampton will provide an all-access interview to the making of the Everybody vs. Racism project
Feb 17 12p -1p
Decolonizing language: The value of learning mother tongue and indigenous languages
As the English language takes center stage as the global language for business, innovation, science, and academia, indigenous languages rich in ancient wisdom, culture, and history are often relegated to the background. Language is not only made up of mere words. It is cultural beliefs, traditions, ways of being, thinking, indigenous wisdom, and ideological beliefs and nuances. It guides and influences the way we move through the world.
This lecture will draw the participants into an awareness that the English language is colonized. If this holds true, then the onus lies on us to decolonize language contextually and in the ways in which we express ourselves. Mother tongues are going extinct and we are sadly losing the words, wisdom, cultural context, and meaning. There has to be an urgency to preserve them. What are the ways in which we can advocate, revitalize and promote mother tongues and indigenous language.
Drum Roll with Clint Breeze
1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Takes walking to the beat of your own drum to the next level. Through this interactive workshop world-class percussionist takes us back to the days of pencil beats on lunch tables through some advanced rhythms on the djembe and drum kit.
Now - February 28
The Rudiments of SUPRC
Boyd Smith-Art Museum of Greater Lafayette
In 1995, a criminologist named John DiIulio falsely predicted that there would be an explosion of violence caused by young Black men, whom he coined “super predators.”
This myth created a baseless fear that heightened government surveillance programs, intensified policing, and fueled mass incarceration within Black community. That same year, on February 5th, Trayvon Martin, was born. The life of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year high school student, was taken when George Zimmerman fatally shot him in Sandford, Florida. Martin’s murder sparked global uprisings and brought international attention to America’s violent racial history against Black people.
On February 26, 2012, the night Martin was murdered, Boyd Smith recalled watching a documentary about ‘super predators’ and considered how the racist ideology that fueled this term, not only reinforced Zimmerman’s violent action, which resulted in killing Trayvon; but was also the very foundation of the “justice” system that enabled Zimmerman to be acquitted. During the time of Zimmerman’s trial, he transitioned to West Lafayette to pursue a degree in Electronic and Time-Based Art at Purdue University.
As he decided on my thesis project, Smith was moved to create a series that would highlight the unjust racial violence he’d been seeing and provide a visual space to claim justice for himself and his community. The Rudiments of ‘SuPre’ is a collection that reflects on how the idea of super predator shapes the violent realities experienced by Black people in our contemporary moment. Smith explores mixed media practices in order to highlight the complexities of this lived experience, and work to provide a counter visual that re-sensitizes the audience to Black bodies and Black life. The creation of ‘SuPre’ a fictional character in my work helps to challenge the demonization of Black boys as super predators and instead allows them to see themselves as protectors of their communities.
February 4; February 11
Book Clubs with West Lafayette Public Library
The BCC and the West Lafayette Public Library will present a virtual community reading group for both youth and adults. The series will feature titles from 2020 Advancing Racial Equities Indiana Humanities Grant. Books selected are intended to be uplifting and relevant to the black community.
Adult book club: No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America by Darnell L Moore
February 8 – Sol Glo 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Live day party that highlights what’s making our souls glow. A day of celebration, liberation, and joy.
February 10 - PRJT
Kimberlé W. Crenshaw
Kimberlé W. Crenshaw is a pioneering scholar and writer on civil rights, critical race theory, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law. In addition to her position at Columbia Law School, she is a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also the co-author of Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected. Her writing has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the National Black Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, and the Southern California Law Review. She is a founding coordinator of the Critical Race Theory workshop and co-editor of Critical Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement. In 1981, she assisted on the legal team of Anita Hill during her testimony at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
February 16; February 23
Teen book club (adults welcome): How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin
February 24 – Coffee House – 2020
Intimate Artistic Expressions. Featuring performances by the BCC ensembles. Enjoy powerful music, empowering poetic messages, creative dance, and drama.
March 4 – White Fragility
Robin DiAngelo received a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2004. She earned tenure at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Currently she is Affiliate Associate Professor of Education at the University of Washington, Seattle. In addition, she holds two Honorary Doctoral Degrees. Her area of research is in Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis, tracing how whiteness is reproduced in everyday narratives. She is a two-time winner of the Student’s Choice Award for Educator of the Year at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. She has numerous publications and books, including Is Everybody Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Critical Social Justice Education, co-written with Özlem Sensoy, and which received both the American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Book Award (2012) and the Society of Professors of Education Book Award (2018). In 2011 she coined the term White Fragility in an academic article which influenced the international dialogue on race. Her book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism was released in June of 2018 and debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List where it remained for 85 weeks. It is currently being translated into languages.
Mental Health Care and the Black Community
Mental Health Care and the Black Community; virtual panel followed by Q & A with Maime Butler, Ph.D. candidate in Counseling Psychology, CAPS staff therapist, and Black student liaison; Dr. David Rollock, Professor of Psychological Sciences, Clinical Psychology; and Meredith Stravers, Co-Founder of The Truth & Titus Collective. Join us for a discussion on mental health issues in the Black community including race-related stress and mental trauma, healing, navigating mental healthcare spaces in the mainstream, Afrocentric interventions, and much more.
March 15 – 17 Virtual Gullah/Geechee Tour
Gullah & Geechee History and Traditions. Spring 2021 the Purdue BCC will conduct a Virtual Gulllah/Geechee Tour. We will explore the history and culture found in this distinctly African Culture.
March 16; March 19
Spring Break Book Club for pre-teens (YA) New Kid by Jerry Craft
“Next Steps – Environment Justice, Climate Change, and Racial Justice,” is a free two-day virtual, regional, symposium March 25-26, 2021. The goal of this virtual conference is to make visible environmental justice work and create a regional action network by bringing together Purdue’s researchers, artists, scholars, and stakeholders, including peers working at research institutions across the state.
March 31 12p -1p
All About Love:
In this contemplative conversation with Poet Manon Voice, the group will review the best-selling book, “All About Love.” The group will also learn how to center a love ethic.
April 24 - Cultural Arts Festival featuring the BCC Ensembles