College hosts robust Black History Month programming
In February, Beloit rolled out a calendar chock-full of events honoring Black history, culture, and individuals of the past and present.
The Dean of Students office, Student Success, Equity and Community (SSEC), the Weissberg Program for Human Rights and Social Justice, and student organization Black Students United (BSU) hosted keynotes from prominent speakers, student research and art presentations, luncheons, and even a friendly five-on-five basketball game, pitting teams led by Dean of Students Cecil Youngblood against Assistant Dean of SSEC Dr. Gloria Bradley.
The month kicked off with a trip to the College Archives and a presentation on the legacy of Black Beloiters by College Archivist Arielle Petrovich. Throughout the month, students also learned about careers in social justice and networking and career-readiness, discussed race and privilege, and delved into the history of soul food by viewing the Netflix documentary series, “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America.”
“One of the most impactful events [of the month] was the soul food luncheon,” says Bradley. “It was a great opportunity to bring the Beloit College community together over an intentional meal and to learn about the history and impact of African American food on American culture. It was truly a diverse cross section of campus, communicating, breaking bread, and building community.”
For SSEC Program Coordinator Daksha Howard, the month’s highlight was a gala hosted by BSU and held in the Sanger Center for the Sciences. Students and their professors and mentors donned suits and high heels, shared a meal, celebrated their accomplishments with awards, and drew encouragement from a speech by Rock County Equity Manager Dr. Atiera Coleman’10, who had just been chosen as Beloit’s 2023 Commencement speaker.
“It was wonderful to see students all dressed up, mingling, and enjoying themselves,” Howard says. “Dr. Coleman gave a powerful speech that left students inspired and in awe of her and her accomplishments.”
The month concluded with an inspiring keynote by Vera Jones, a Hall of Fame basketball player, coach, and sports commentator. Her Feb. 27 talk, “Now I See: Moving from Blindness to Breakthrough in Mental Wellness,” addressed strategies for having a healthier and happier life, starting with understanding the impact we have on one another.