In a ceremony that honored the achievements of African Americans and other people of color, United Black Students (UBS) kicked off Black Awareness Month on Monday at the Shalala Student Center, continuing a tradition that began in 1962 when the annual month-long observance of important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora began.
“This year we’re celebrating our immense history,” said University of Miami junior Imani Callan, chair of this year’s Black Awareness Month (BAM), which features a Black By Popular Demand theme. “We looked at every decade and century to learn about the important impacts blacks made at various points in history.”
View a complete schedule of events during Black Awareness Month.
Callan and her team then incorporated those achievements into events like Monday’s opening ceremony, where students and performers entertained the audience with African American-themed talks, poems, dances, and songs representative of different decades. A presentation featuring facts about the influence blacks have had on American culture throughout the decades also was given. For example, during the performance of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” pictures were displayed of African Americans who received prestigious awards in Hollywood, such as actress Halle Berry.
“Anyone who comes to BAM events this year can expect to learn something about black culture and be immersed in it,” said Callan.
Henson Destine, one of the chairs for BAM’s opening ceremony, agreed, saying this entire month is a way to “expose the UM environment” to black culture.
UBS began organizing BAM events last March, and this year’s festivities run the gamut.
For those who enjoy theatrical performances, UBS will participate in a viewing of “Motown: The Musical” on Friday, February 5 at the Adrienne Arsht Center (a ticket is required). The story is about Motown Records and how its creator, Berry Gordy, launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and other notable black entertainers.
Students interested in attending medical, law, or graduate school can participate in the Life After Undergrad Panel in which graduate students will provide insights and information on post-baccalaureate degree options. The panel starts at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, February 15 in the Shalala Student Center’s Activities South Room.
The month will end with a day of service at the Overtown Youth Center as well as a BAM Family Reunion with soul food, fun, and games.