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Flag-raising kicks off Black History Month

For Scott Carreathers, the flag-raising ceremony outside of Scholes Hall Thursday that marked the beginning of Black History Month symbolizes the meaning of the February celebration.

“Knowing what the colors on the flag mean — red for the blood of our ancestors, black for black people and green for the land and hope — it really encompasses the meaning of this special month,” said Carreathers, UNM director of African American Student Services.

Everett Wheeler-Bell, president of the Black Student Union, said the purpose of the ceremony is to recognize black achievements and contributions.

“Although I believe education about black history should take place all year long, this is really our special time in the spotlight,” he said. “It is a great because it really shows that progressive things are happening and that people really do care about respecting and celebrating each other.”

Nikki Miles, vice president of the Black Student Union, said the ceremony garnered the largest turnout she has seen in three years.

“I am so proud that this celebration of both past and current black leaders is really being observed by everyone, not just us, because that’s the whole point of this month — for the black community to celebrate its heritage and share it with others,” she said.

Staff member Charles Catlett said he enjoys Black History Month because it celebrates a part of U.S. history that has been either forgotten or never told.

“It’s a time for the community, especially students, to enhance their knowledge and broaden their views,” he said. “It’s a time to remember the rich, deep roots we have.”

Miles and Wheeler-Bell said they are looking forward to the variety of events planned for this month, such as a poetry night and step competition.

“I can’t wait for the in-depth discussions on issues that affect the black community that I know are going to take place in formal and informal settings,” Wheeler-Bell said.

DaVonda Bowens, an Associated Students of UNM senator, said she is looking forward to the Feb. 9 Black Student Day at the state Legislature.

“It’s really our chance to come together, go to Santa Fe and get our message out,” she said.

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Bowens emphasized that the month-long celebration is open to everyone.

“I really am hoping that we get the support of the University and want everyone to come out and show how important these events are by their attendance because it is a reflection on this University,” she said.

Carreathers said that Black History Month also helps unite the city.

“People on the outside believe that the University of New Mexico is only paying lip service to diversity, but when they see the variety of people coming together during our celebrations, they change their mind,” he said. “People can see that we really are practicing diversity and learning from each other.”

For more information about upcoming Black History Month events, call African American Student Services at 277-5644.

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