Seton Hall students shared their thoughts on Black History Month, its significance and what it means to them.
Feven Kebede, a sophomore nursing major, said: “It’s the month where we celebrate Africans, African-Americans and people of black descent. It’s a period where we commemorate the people who have made an impact in our society such as Martin Luther King Jr.”
Emmanuella Iwelumo, a senior nursing major, said: “Black History Month means a period when I can unapologetically celebrate the legacy of a people – of African descent, both those that came before me and those that are coming after me. People who have pushed through all the adversity that is continually set up for their failure, since their ancestors set foot on American soil and other parts of the world, to achieve greatness and endure suffering for the future of their children and generations to come.”
Kaymaria Myers, a junior environmental studies major, said: “It’s important to have a time solely focused on the impact of several important black people in history and the contribution that they made to America, and how they furthered the strides we can make for the black community.”
She also stressed the importance of representation. “It’s so important to see a figure who looks just like you,” Myers said. “Women in science, men in engineering. It’s so important to highlight that, like three to four weeks straight of pure inventions of history that were put together by black people.”
Iwelumo, the president of the African Students Association (ASA), said the group has events planned to celebrate this month. One of these events is “Black is Beautiful: A Tribute to Self Love,” a photo-shoot fundraiser where they will be raising money for ASA’s fashion show in April.
Iwelumo said another event ASA has planned is “Homegoing: The Return and Reparations.” She explained that this event, based on the novel “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi, will consist of a panel discussion on the process of unifying Africans and people of African descent.
She added that the event will also discuss the possibilities that Africa has for the diaspora and the part they can play in the return back to Africa physically, and activities they can do together to enlighten themselves about each other.
Myers, who is the president of the West Indian Student Organization (WISO) said the group hosted an event called “Name That Chune,” to talk about large genres of music that come out of the Caribbean, like dance hall, soca and reggae.
Myers discussed another event called “Masterclass. Let’s. Get. BEAT!” where WISO will discuss various aspects of skin and makeup.
“When you go into stores, there isn’t as much shade range options for people of darker skin tones,” Myers said. “Talk about the importance of it because we’ve seen the effects of colorism, of skin bleaching. I want to have an event to let you know your skin is beautiful, and this is how you can make it even more beautiful with a wing, some eyeshadow, contour and highlight.”
In light of Black History Month, students shared who they consider among the role models that have inspired them.
“Kwame Nkrumah was a Black African Statesman and political activist from Ghana, which he led to independence from Britain in 1957, and was a powerful voice for African nationalism,” Iwelumo said.
Iwelumo added that she believes figures like Kwame Nkrumah are important to mention in order to educate people about the different but similar fights initiated to liberate black people from their colonial and slave masters.
Myers said that her role models are Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jamaica Kincaid, an Antiguan-American writer. She said she also recognizes Bob Marley, due to his contribution to reggae. Said Myers, “A little piece of Jamaica is now around the world.”
Kristel Domingo can be reached at email@example.com.