I am Black History

I+am+Black+History

February is Black History Month — a time to celebrate and honor Black brilliance and the contributions it has made to history. This February, GC plans to celebrate by hosting multiple events and working with the Cultural Center to highlight Black voices.

Sponsored by GC’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, the African Writers Festival 2021: Connections and Illuminations’ goal is to showcase African writers and thinkers. The festival is in honor and celebration of how African writers have illuminated the world.

The festival will be held on Feb. 26-27 over Zoom. Students can contact Kerry Neville at [email protected] for more information.

Nadirah Mayweather, the director of the Cultural Center at GC, is making the best efforts to celebrate Black History Month this year amidst the pandemic.

The mission of the Cultural Center is to help educate GC on the wide diaspora of cultures that exist in our nation. Further, they have critical conversations about shared experiences.

“We are very excited to honor the rich history of African American culture,” Mayweather said. “Although that’s something we aim to do everyday with all cultures, we are excited to have this opportunity to celebrate National Black History Month.”

Mayweather added that the Cultural Center is focusing on literary legacies this month. She explained that one of the best ways to celebrate this month is by reading aloud Black literary works.

“Not everyone had the access to books, or could gain access like we do now,” Mayweather said. “The opportunity to share that written word and to spread it and to read it aloud really gives it honor in a way that reading it alone cannot.”

Mayweather added that GC has been making space for a narrative with the goal of empowering the Black community. Explaining that it is more powerful for someone to tell their own experience, rather than have someone else tell their story.

“There’s no end point to where justice has reached its height, right?,” Mayweather said. “There’s always something that can be done. I can say that GC has made very meaningful strides towards making sure we get it right. We have offices that are working very diligently to make sure that we’re handling things in a way that would make our students feel safe and respected.”

Carolyn Denard, the associate vice president for inclusive excellence and the chief diversity officer, has been collaborating with the Cultural Center and alumni to honor Black History Month. Denard stated that their goal is to ensure an inclusive climate at GC.

As an English professor, Denard suggests celebrating by reading books on African American life. Recommending authors such as Raymond Andrews, Alice Walker, Ernest Gaines and Margaret Walker.

Maywether and Denard also suggested writer Toni Morrison. Through her works, Morrison amplifies issues of colorism and specifically the oppression of Black women.

“Some of the stories are quite painful. I think that if you were to read all of Morrison’s work you would get an amazing history lesson,” Denard said. “You’d also get some sense of how that history has impacted the lives of people on an individual, human level. I think that’s the real merit of Morrison.”

In honor of Black History Month, students can educate, celebrate and discuss Black history. GC’s effort to ensure inclusivity and diversity within the campus can be carried out by students on an individual level.

“It takes individual, living, human beings to fight and respond to issues,” Mayweather said. “We need to continue to help educate each other so that we can motivate individuals towards doing the right thing.”