Throughout February, multiple University of Portland organizations will be hosting events to honor Black history and celebrate diversity on campus — and with only 2% of UP students self-identifying as Black or African American, this month can provide a welcome celebration of Black history for the entire campus.
“Black History Month means the celebration and accomplishments of all African Americans throughout history,” vice president of Black Student Union Mohammad Surur said. “It also means the hardships African Americans have gone through and endured for hundreds of years, and them overcoming it is such a huge feat in my eyes.”
February has been recognized as Black History Month by every US president for the last 46 years, although its origins stretch back to the early 1900s.
Beginning with Gerald Ford in 1976, each president has designated a theme for each Black History Month — this year’s is Black Health and Wellness.
In honor of Black History Month, Diversity and Inclusion Programs will host local Portland chef and black queer woman Nikeisah Newton, who is the founder and owner of Meals 4 Heels, the world’s only late-night food delivery service catering to sex workers and sex-positive patrons, according to Yuri Hernández Osorio, coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion Programs.
“DIP is committed to bringing Black voices on campus and hosting events that highlight the many wonderful contributions Black people in our community have given,” Hernández Osorio said. “At DIP we are known for bringing minoritized voices on our predominately white campus. We truly believe that everyone on campus benefits from seeing and hearing QTBIPOC voices, especially women of color.”
The talk is free and open to the public, and will take place on Zoom on Feb. 10 from 6-7 p.m. RSVP is required.
On Saturday, Feb. 12, Pilots After Dark is partnering with Black Student Union to host a night of events at the Pilot House from 9-11 p.m. The night will include a talent show, trivia game and raffles. All students are welcome to this free event, which will include prizes.
Students wanting to perform in the talent show can pre-register for the event.
Black Student Union will also host an Instagram takeover on UP’s Instagram account and will be posting content throughout the month on their own social media, according to BSU faculty advisor Tshombé Brown.
Along with events throughout the month, UP’s library has created a digital guide for Black History Month, with a collection of texts, articles and art highlighting Black pioneers in STEM throughout history.
Carlos Fuentes is the copy editor of The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.