KOKOMO, Ind. – Music, art and education will highlight Black History Month activities this month at Indiana University Kokomo.
JC Barnett III, director of the Black Student Center, said in addition to providing historical education, the commemoration offers students a sense of belonging on campus.
“It’s important for students to have these opportunities, especially at a regional campus like IU Kokomo, because the demographic of this area, the city, and the campus, doesn’t always reflect the minority population,” he said. “To bring events here, and to start conversations gives our minority students, especially our Black students, an understanding that there is a support system for them.”
The month’s activities kick off Thursday, February 3, with a lunch and learn that brings the story of former slave and abolitionist Harriet Tubman to life. The event begins at noon in Kresge Auditorium, with Doris Tudor performing a family-friendly reenactment of Tubman’s life.
The celebration continues Monday, February 7, with Music Monday. Students can enjoy music provided by a DJ in Alumni Hall, along with coloring sheets and sack lunches, while supplies last.
Black artists will be featured in an art exposition from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, February 15, in the Kelley Student Center, Room 130.
Activities wrap up with a Meet and Greet, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, February 23, in Alumni Hall. It will include a DJ, games, and food.
Senior Tia Chambers is glad to have the chance to learn more by being part of the student organization, housed in the Multicultural Center.
“It makes IU Kokomo a welcoming place,” she said. “You gain more knowledge, because a lot of us aren’t really educated on Black history. With these events, I hope people learn and use what they’ve learned in the future. Knowledge and meeting new people will bring more people together.”
As a multiracial student, she’s appreciated the chance to learn about a side of her culture she didn’t know much about growing up.
“It’s given me knowledge about the other side of my family, and my other culture, to really figure out who I am as a person.”
Barnett said recognizing the month is important, because the contributions of Black people have not always been highlighted.
“We would not be where we are today as a society and as a culture had it not been for the contributions of African American people through our history,” he said. “I also believe it’s an effort to never forget who we are as a people.”