Michigan Tech celebrates Black History Month

The+%E2%80%9CBlack+Excellence%2C+Innovation%2C+and+Joy%E2%80%9D+exhibit+can+be+viewed+in+the+Michigan+Tech+library.+

Max Magni

The “Black Excellence, Innovation, and Joy” exhibit can be viewed in the Michigan Tech library.

Kiera Raymond, Lode Writer

Black History Month is a national celebration that takes place every February. The month-long celebration is a reminder that Black history is American history, as individuals reflect on the faults, struggles, change, progress, and hopes for the future. On campus there are many organizations that support people of color at Michigan Tech, including the Black Student Association (BSA) and the Society of African American Men (SAAM). Both organizations are active on campus, participating in the celebration of Black History Month. They provide educational events and support for all students. 

Malachi Wilson, the Minister of Direction of SAAM, is aware that “African Americans only make up 1% of our school population and that’s females included.” They offer support to all races and ethnicities but specifically come together as an “organization of men supporting one another in order to have that safe place and a place we make for others as well.” SAAM is not doing anything on campus sponsored by their own organization, yet instead is putting their full efforts and manpower into supporting the Black Student Association and all the things they have on campus during the month. 

One of these events is an art exhibit in the library celebrating “Black Excellence, Innovation, and Joy” by displaying all forms of artwork from people in the community.  The exhibit intends to be an uplifting experience for all students to enjoy. The President of the Black Student Association, Jailynn Johnson, encourages students to visit this exhibit on the first floor of the library. “We will also be celebrating BHM by having what we call ‘Soul Train Night’ which is a themed dance party in the MUB ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 19 from 7 – 9 p.m. Please bring your friends and dress in your best 70s, 80s, and 90s attire.”

Johnson encourages all students to take time this month to recognize Black History Month. “[it is] a time of celebration and perseverance. It is a time to appreciate those who came before and paved the way for your own upcoming success. It is a time to remember the hardships while also basking in pivotal moments of glory. Most importantly, it’s an excuse to take time to learn something new!” Johnson advises students to stop by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion if they’re not sure where to start. “There are plenty of friendly people there who want to get to know you and point you towards the right resources [and] opportunities. Just don’t wait for those opportunities to come to you. Be the change that you want to see.”

Wilson hopes that more people will attend this month’s events. “Historically people have disregarded Black History Month. I wish people would pay more attention and participate in Black History Month events.” He explains how “Black History Month is more than just one man that everyone recognizes, it’s a celebration of culture, a celebration of accomplishments, and most importantly a celebration of the people that put their lives on the line throughout history to make things better for the coming generations.”

Both BSA and SAAM have the same hopes for the future: a diverse place at Michigan Tech’s campus that is not only recognized by BIPOC, but also as an active part of all departments and the institution of MTU as a whole. They are hopeful that eventually the campus community will create a welcoming environment for all students at Michigan Tech, which starts with exposure and education.