This year’s Black History Month celebration at Seton Hall features all virtual events that educate and celebrate African American history and culture.
One event that will continue into April is the Model Gary Convention organized by Dr. Kelly Harris, Director of Africana Studies at Seton Hall.
“The Model Gary Convention is an ongoing bi-weekly activity that is based on a 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, which was the largest Black political convention in this country’s history,” Harris said. “It had over 12,000 people attend.”
Harris said he believes the Model Gary Convention will serve as a fantastic medium for students to engage with history.
“We think it’s a good exercise,” Harris said. “Just like the Model UN type of exercise where students have issues and committees they will be on, they will be addressing current issues because I feel that the best way for students to learn sometimes is to really apply it to the current world.”
Other opportunities are also available for students to engage in interactive events and discussions which will focus on the Black experience. The Rev. Dr. Forrest Pritchett, who is one of the presenters and serves as a senior adviser to the Provost for diversity, equity and inclusion, said he hopes to bring different experiences together in productive exchanges.
“I think the most effective types of presentations are not one-way conversations, but two-way, so one thing I always insist upon is making sure that we are allowing time for Q&A,” Pritchett said. “In the absence of that, I also like to build into panel presentations critical questions that I liked to have asked after the presenters talk so that even the community can respond to those critical questions.”
Jarod Lomax, a sophomore anthropology major, said he is hopeful that students will attend the African Diaspora, Black Identity, and Colorism Panel hosted by the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute. Lomax added that he hopes students will enjoy events throughout Black Student Union week which also occurs this month and includes a discussion on astrology, trivia event and movie night.
Lomax said in addition to these activities he wants to stress the importance of serious inquiry and learning, adding that he feels Black History Month should just be the beginning.
“People should integrate [learning] into their lives because if you really want to understand Black people and the Black struggle, it’s not just one month of the year looking at it, highlighting it,” Lomax said. “You must be continuously educating yourself and that’s just firmly what I believe.”
The complete list of events can be found on Seton Hall University’s website.
Liam Brucker-Casey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.