Photo caption: The 2020 Harambee Celebration in Davies Center featured dancing and traditional cultural attire, such as the dashikis pictured above. This year's Wakanda Wednesdays will invite students to wear cultural attire throughout the month.
February is National Black History Month, and UW-Eau Claire will offer a series of online events that reflect the richness of Black culture and history, and recognize the many accomplishments and contributions of African Americans here on campus and beyond.
Campus leadership in the division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the staff and students representing the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) and student organizations have worked hard to create a diverse slate of virtual events and activities for the 2021 Black History Month calendar.
Michael Thomas, now in his fourth year as student services coordinator for OMA, has coordinated these BHM efforts once again and looks forward to presenting the rich cultural and historical experiences to participants in a new online format.
"Now more than ever, our university has a unique opportunity to rectify, repair and reimagine what social justice and anti-racism could look like at UWEC, and I am happy to see that Black History Month is contributing to that discussion,” Thomas says. "It is my hope that the Black History Month calendar of events affords the UWEC community an opportunity to reflect on our current realities, connect in our shared experience and discuss how to move forward collectively."
Sophomore Jasmine Rosario, a marketing major from Eau Claire, is president of the Black Student Alliance and has worked to coordinate and plan the monthlong celebration. Rosario is excited to elevate the sense of community it helps to forge.
"Black History Month gives me that extra sense of pride of where and who I've come from," Rosario says. "I also enjoy the extra connectedness I experience with other African Americans/Africans on campus during the month. As the Black/African event coordinator for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, my role in this planning is extra important to me and other Black student organizations — it is like the glue between the student organizations and the means to assure they're celebrated and recognized."
With varied events like Wakanda Wednesdays, inviting students to wear dashikis or other cultural attire each week, the Fourth Annual MLK Celebration, "Music Speaks" jazz celebration of Black history, crafting events and a culminating Harambee Award ceremony online, the month will hold many important opportunities to honor and celebrate.
See the 2021 Black History Month poster and OMA Events page for details and information about how to join the various events online. Also, consult the campus events calendar for links and further detail as Zoom sessions and registrations are finalized.