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Black History Month concludes with celebration

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Rebecca Mennecke

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Students, dancers and awards close out month-long celebration

UW-Eau+Claire+planned+a+month+of+events+to+recognize+black+history+and+ended+with+a+celebration+Wednesday+night.
UW-Eau Claire planned a month of events to recognize black history and ended with a celebration Wednesday night.

UW-Eau Claire planned a month of events to recognize black history and ended with a celebration Wednesday night.

Gabbie Henn

Gabbie Henn

UW-Eau Claire planned a month of events to recognize black history and ended with a celebration Wednesday night.

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The festivities for Black History month concluded with a celebration at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28 in the Ojibwe Ballroom of the Davies Students Center, where speakers, dancers and students gathered to celebrate a month commemorating black history.

Michael Thomas, the Student Services Coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, described the atmosphere positively.

“I would describe the atmosphere as one of love, honestly,” Thomas said. “I know that is kind of abstract, like, ‘what is love?’ But, I say that because when people show up and they are attentive and they are really seeking to, you know, understand and to better support a population that may be different from them, it comes in that, again, in that willingness to show up, and that’s what I witnessed tonight. The room was packed.”

Sponsored by the EDI Division, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Black Student Alliance, the event highlighted work of UW-Eau Claire professors, students and staff in diversity and inclusivity as well as in academic success.

Scholarships were awarded during the event to students for their hard work and academic excellence in addition to the awardation of the Service Excellence Award and the Academic Excellence Award.

The event included speakers, music, dancing and, of course, food, which was provided by Sodexo.

“There’s not a lot of soul food restaurants anywhere,” said Elijah Vanderpoel, a second-year performance student. “They were selling soul food at Dulany just as good as the food here.”

Beyond the good soul food, the event boasted the dancing group, Black Girl Magic, as well as talents of the UW-Eau Claire concert choir, which sang “Precious Lord.”

Dr. Stacey M. Jackson, an assistant professor in the Psychology department, introduced the event by discussing why Black History Month is important.

“One of the reasons why I feel like black history month is important is because it educates people,” Jackson said.

She spoke of the murders of young black men in the United States and its impact on her own familial life, with respect to her own young son and how she will someday have to talk to him about how some people negatively view black people in America.

“I’ll need to have that conversation with him sooner rather than later,” Jackson said.

The events, Thomas said, were successful.

“I would say that they were successful based on the people who were in attendance and what those people received from that programming,” Thomas said. “And so I’ve heard very positive feedback about the different events that we’ve had.”

In terms of Black History month celebrations next year, Thomas said they want to “enhance and continue to strive for excellence in all that we do.”

“As we close out the month of black history,” Thomas said in closing the event, “reflecting over the amazing programs and activities, I want everyone to leave this program with an understanding that while black history month has ended, we need to incorporate the things learned during this month and throughout every month and every day of our lives.”

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Black History Month concludes with celebration