The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

“Still I Rise” Black History Month event sheds light on Black History

The Multicultural Student Services held a Black History Month event with performances and dinner centering around Black art
Photo by Rossellin Gaitan
The Dakota Ballroom was used to display the art and program as the event began
People standing for the final moments of the event clapping and dancing along.

This Black History Month the Multicultural Student Services (MSS) office decided to host the “Still I Rise” last week as a part of BHM programming at UW-Eau Claire. 

MSS described the event as “A program chronicling American Black history.” With the help of several campus and community performances the event put a spotlight on a variety of topics and artistic lenses. 

At the beginning of the event there was singing, cornbread and a drum performance by UW-Eau Claire alumni, Olu Famule. The event served chicken, collard greens and mac and cheese by C&T’s Soul Food catering.

As people sat and observed, the first videos began to play detailing the effects of the Jim Crow era and its dangerous implications on African American people then and now. The segment was a virtual tour of the Jim Crow Museum in Big Rapids, Michigan. It focused on the victimization of Black people. 

Story continues below advertisement

The event then moved on to its next segment which was titled “Hip-Hop and Criminal Justice.” There was a performance by Marcus Montana (Tru Serva) in which he spoke about the famous speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He talked about his personal experiences with this speech and personal experiences being a Black man in the United States in his freestyle. 

“Unity is not sameness, It’s oneness.” Montana said. 

Montana had the crowd stand up and engage with one another. As people clapped and sat for the next segment, smiles beamed everywhere as Callie Greer, a Grassroots community organizer took the stage and spoke about healthcare disparities within Black communities. 

The events concluded with a touching reading of “I Dream a World” by Langston Hughes read by local primary school student, Justin Jackson. 

Katie Streckert, Student Service Coordinator at the MSS office spoke about the event and the planning that went into it. 

“Our team really wanted to bring out the many facets of the American Black experience and to make the event celebratory as well as informative. How they have resisted and persisted in celebrating their culture and contributing to their community’s flourishing” Streckert said. 

Streckert feels that the event was a success with 186 people in attendance. 

“I feel like the event accomplished our purpose of speaking to many facets of American Black History, both bringing to light obstacles that have been faced and celebrating the ways that African American communities have persisted, overcame and created through them,” Streckert said. 

Rosa Gomez, UW-Eau Claire alumni and Student Service Coordinator within MSS said that the event makes a difference when our institution and our peers invest in the lived experiences that certain communities face. 

“Being a predominantly white institution, it’s critical that we provide spaces for our BIPOC communities to feel not just represented, but also celebrated,” Gomez said. 

Gomez added that it is important to empathize, learn and understand these experiences, even if they aren’t your own. 

“It can be so easy to look at the experiences of BIPOC communities from a deficit lens because of historical marginalization. it’s equally as important to uplift joy and highlight the perseverance of BIPOC communities.”

Gaitan can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *