Feb. 1 marked the start of Black History Month, a time to reflect, honor and appreciate the history of Black people in the United States as to further incorporate these discussions into the broader mainstream discussion outside of the month of February, according to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The University of New Mexico has a calendar full of events hosted by various departments to allow students to celebrate and enjoy the month.
UNM’s African American Student Services, a service department aimed at providing Black students at UNM with various resources for success as well as a safe gathering space, has a series of events lined up for the month of February, including film screenings, panels and block parties. The events fall into the themes of “Black is Joy,” “Black is Community,” “Black is Love,” “Black is Culture” and “Black is Colorful,” according to the UNM Newsroom.
A Black Feminist Panel will take place on Monday, Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. in the Student Union Building in association with the Project for New Mexico Graduates of Color. This will be followed by a “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” film screening hosted by the Black Student Union in the SUB theater starting at 6 p.m., according to the UNM Newsroom.
Tuesday, Feb. 14 will see the Love and College Season 4 event take place, and on Feb. 17, Zeta Phi Beta will be hosting their “Speed Friending” event at 5 p.m. in the SUB Atrium. The sorority will be taking donations for the Lobo Food Pantry upon entry to the event, according to Zeta Phi Beta’s Facebook page.
To kick off the “Black is Culture” events, an Afro Latinindad panel followed by a talk from Timothy Nelson, will be held on Feb. 23, on Blackdom, New Mexico, a township built by freedmen which grew into a frontier boomtown, according to the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology’s website. The event, which begins at 5 p.m., is hosted by the museum and will be followed by a reception at 6 p.m.
The final “Black is Culture” event will be a block party hosted by the Black Student Union and the Powerful Movement of Educated Sistas, on Feb. 24, two Black organizations on campus.
The “Black is Colorful” events will begin on Feb. 28 with a “lunch and learn” featuring Dr. Stephanie McIver titled, “When I Say Black … I Mean Very Colorful,” at noon in the Honors College forum. This will be followed by the UNM men’s basketball game against Fresno State University at 7 p.m. which will feature the Divine 9 sororities.
In addition to the programming offered by AASS, UNM Health Sciences also has a full lineup of programming throughout the month honoring Black history. The next upcoming event will be a talk on Dr. Charles R. Drew, who pioneered the process of blood plasma preservation and the organization of the first large-scale blood bank in the U.S.
He also strongly opposed the practice of racially segregating blood donations, according to the National Library of Medicine. The event will be hosted by his daughter Slyvia Drew Lvie, according to the Health Sciences Newsroom. The event will be held on Feb. 16 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Another talk on Feb. 23, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. from speaker Anita Fernander will discuss the place of critical race theory in the medical profession and how health inequities affect the Black population.
In addition to these talks, the Health Sciences Center will be hosting a series of food trucks throughout the month as well as a trivia night based upon African Americans and their contributions to medicine. The trivia night will be held on Feb. 21 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and a full schedule of food trucks can be found on the Health Sciences Center website.
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The Project for New Mexico Graduates of Color will also be holding a screening of the documentary “Black Experience in New Mexico 1974-1980,” followed by a Q&A from Harold Bailey, the current president of the Albuquerque chapter of the NAACP. This will take place on Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. in the SUB theater, according to the city of Albuquerque
With these events in mind, it is important, as the ASALH points out, that the celebration of Black history should not stay confined within the month of February: “Black History Month, too, is a powerful symbolic celebration. And symbols always stand for something bigger — in our case, the important role of Black history in pursuit of racial justice and equality,” reads the ASALH website.
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