March 1, 2021
Throughout the month of February, the Office of Multicultural Affairs at East Texas Baptist University honored the rich contributions of African Americans to our communities, culture, and country through the hosting of Black History Month events on the ETBU campus.
“The Black History Month activities helped bring together the Tiger student body by offering learning experiences and facilitating open discussions regarding justice, unity, health and wellness, music and poetry talents. The special programs promoting cultural diversity, understanding, and appreciation gave students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge on different aspects of Black history and heritage,” ETBU Resident Director Arlette Henderson said. “Black History Month is a time to reflect on the past, examine the present, and embrace the future to continue progressive change and aid with uniting every ethnicity for a greater purpose.”
Included in the events planned for the month, the Black Student Association (BSA) facilitated Real Talk – an open and respectful guided discussion about current topics and events. Students from all backgrounds gathered to have candid conversations about relevant issues facing today’s college students in society.
“Forums like these create a space for people to be able to share their experiences across the board,” senior music education major and President of BSA Anissa Mott said. “Like we saw during the Real Talk event, even within the Black community there are different experiences on the color spectrum and within colorism. It was also important to share our experiences with our non-Black peers, so that they could chime in and share any of their experiences within the range of topics shared.”
With a focus on student perspective and voice, the Student Leadership Advisory Board (SLAB), which Mott was a part of, was established during the summer of 2020 to aid in forming new opportunities for minority students, and to promote ethnic diversity and multicultural education. SLAB was instrumental in casting the vision for ETBU’s Office Multicultural Affairs.
“My husband and I were able to share with students and answer questions on Christian Black marriage at The Black Love event,” Multicultural Affairs Coordinator Angelita Jackson said. “I encouraged students to participate. I ask all students to find just one event to attend. There is always more to learn from each other.”
ETBU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs was established in 2020 to create a Christ-centered, inclusive, and equitable environment encouraging all students to celebrate their heritage while also understanding, valuing, and embracing the cultural diversity of others. The Black History Month events concluded with an Open Mic Night, an African American Read-In Celebration, and Throwback Thursday featuring throwback television shows.
“Black History Month is important because it helps educate everyone,” senior athletic training major Cydnei Wells said. “It’s not just for people within the Black community, it’s for everyone to share their struggles, like a safe haven. Whenever you go through something, you can share your experiences, and we are able to lift each other up as Christians and as people. I enjoyed seeing new faces who were not of the Black community, and that meant a lot to me personally. That was something that made me feel like there is someone here that really does care and is interested to hear about struggles that I have to go through in everyday life. These events were really important to me.”