Zoria Telfare. Photo: Jenny Hudak/University of Miami

‘Black HERstory Month’ honors exemplary women

By Ashley A. Williams

‘Black HERstory Month’ honors exemplary women

By Ashley A. Williams
Zoria Telfare, a junior at the University of Miami, helped coordinate the observance of Black Awareness Month centered around a theme that she feels hits home.

Zoria Telfare was a child when she recognized her mom as her biggest inspiration. 

Growing up, Telfare witnessed her mother perform countless selfless acts and share her wisdom, while working full time and being a wife and mother of two. This was her introduction to a strong, educated, Black woman. When deciding what this year’s Black Awareness Month (BAM) theme would be, it was easy to select “Black HERstory Month.’’ 

“As the Black, female chair of BAM and someone who has been mentored by many remarkable women, I personally felt it was important to honor them with this theme,” said Telfare, a third year University of Miami student studying exercise physiology on the pre-medical track. “Landon Coles, the United Black Students president, and I devised the theme with the unanimous support of the committee to honor and advocate for women supporting other women, especially Black women.”

In addition to women empowerment, Telfare and her team believed it was extremely important to utilize the platform to honor Black women specifically, “especially during these times of increased racial and gender injustices and inequality,” she said. 

On Feb. 4, United Black Students will kick off their BAM events with a variety of special programs that commemorate the historical achievements and contributions of the African Diaspora. The events will center on Black culture, Black contributions, and Black historical figures and will be open for all University students, faculty, and staff to attend. 

“Overseeing the planning for BAM has been very exciting because I have had the privilege to assemble and handpick the team,” said Telfare. “Eleven dynamic student leaders from across the campus—including Coles, as well as Cachay Byrd, the Iron Arrow chairperson—make up the planning committee.” 

The committee dedicated numerous hours over the winter break to ensure a successful month. In addition to the committee, they were advised by the Multicultural Student Affairs  leadership. 

As the outgoing Homecoming Executive Committee chairwoman, Telfare was prepared to deal with the challenges that arise when planning a large-scale event.   

“The greatest challenge was navigating how we can safely host in-person and hybrid events amid the pandemic,” said Telfare. “I have been able to lean on that prior experience in guiding the committee in the right direction in terms of the most effective ways to host in-person as well as virtual events.”

For instance, a sign-up link for their Saturday, Feb. 20, service day event has been created so that students can register beforehand and choose a time slot that they would like to attend the event. This is designed to maximize the number of attendees at one time, while still adhering to  proper physical distancing and following all the University’s COVID-19 guidelines. 

The United Black Students is one of several organizations on campus hosting Black Awareness Month events during February. Visit here for a list of events open to faculty, staff, and student. 

For a complete list of Black History Month events and additional information about the BAM committee, visit the MSA website. Follow the UBS social media accounts on Instagram @umiamiubs, Twitter @umiamiubs, and Facebook @UnitedBlackStudents.