By Michelle DeMartino and Caroline Fiske
As Black History Month 2017 at Marist ends, mostly low attendance at the month’s events and the quiet struggles minorities still face in their college lives remaining unknown prove that the only evidence of remembering what was learned or taken away from February is what is changed going forward.
Marist celebrated Black History Month with a total of ten events by the end of February, including a CBS Sports Host interview, a slam poet and an Origins of Hip Hop event. While attendance was high in some and very low in others, a hard question followed: what measures success of the month? Is it attendance numbers?
CBS Sports Host James Brown and Special Producer for CBS News Alvin Patrick ’86 drew sports broadcasting majors and fans, from Marist College to the Hudson Valley. With most of the Nelly Goletti filled, slam poet Kyla Lacey, however, struggled with attendance, when she could only draw 25 people. Origins of Hip Hop event speaker Dr. Steve Peraza found himself only speaking to 21 people, taking place on the last few days of the month.
Is it what is changed going forward?
When the beginning of the month started, students were asked by Accepting Races and Creating Opportunities (ARCO) Club President Ted Dolce the first word they think of when they hear “Black History”, using Snapchat. Some that were spoken included strength, courage and power.
Sara Nowlin, a communication professor, talks about how minorities have to show these words every day. She describes how strides in inclusion still need to be made.
“How are we making the community and the campus more welcome? We can have people at campus, but if they don’t feel included… they leave or don’t graduate.”
She also explained that she finds that minorities frequently have to speak for their whole race, using the common quote: “Well let’s here from so and so.”
Tying in her statements, she pointed out that it’s a college student’s life and experience. The microaggressions and harassment that minorities are faced with is what is allowing the emboldening of the oppressed and underrepresented feelings from them.
What can be changed going forward?
Look up instead of look down. Look up at the historically important black figures in the Student Center from the past, present and future, where the future is being shown with pictures and aspirations of some of Marist College’s black students. Although Black History Month is over, the significance of showing strength, courage and power should always stay.