California Baptist University students gathered Feb. 20 to celebrate Black History Month at an event hosted by Community Life in Lancer Plaza. This event occurs every year during February, which is Black History Month.
“It is an opportunity to celebrate African American history and to also recognize the hurt that has occurred for many African Americans in history,” said Taylor Altizer, assistant director of Campus Activities.
“Also, it celebrates some of the progress we have made and acknowledges some of the work that still needs to be done.”
To plan the event, Altizer worked with CBU’s United Club, an organization that strives to foster an inclusive environment and provide a safe and accepting place for students on campus.
“It is good to have events like this to show the whole campus that different cultures here on campus have layers to them and have a rich history,” said Jordan Lattimore, junior business administration major and treasurer of the United Club.
“(Events like these) show (people) are here to learn about your culture if you are willing to learn about (other) cultures, as well.”
During the event, three students performed spoken word and musical pieces. Also, members of the Cantinas Arts Foundation, a Christian nonprofit program that aims to help artists share and grow in their art and faith, shared performances that involved spoken word, music and dance.
“My favorite part about the event would probably be the performances that we get to hear because a lot of times it is very personal to the person who is telling their story,” Altizer said. “It is this opportunity where we get to hear about where they come from and what they have experienced. It helps all of us become better people because we have a better understanding of our fellow brother or sister.”
Joys Zendejas, junior biomedical sciences major, performed a spoken word piece at the Black History Month celebration. She chose to share a piece by R.H. Sin titled “Notes to the Neglected Ones.”
She said she feels that events such as the Black History Month celebration are important because they help a create a more inclusive environment.
“Exposing yourself to diverse cultures and different ethnic groups helps you grow as an individual and not only see where you came from but also where other people have come from,” Zendejas said.
Students attending the event could also learn about prominent African American leaders and figures by looking at pictures and reading information cards set up on table tops around Lancer Plaza.
By reading about these well-known African American figures, students could better understand their lives, the difficulties they faced and their impacts on the world.
Altizer said rather than focusing only on the performances this year, the event also emphasized creating a feeling of community that students could enjoy and allowing students to learn from each other’s experiences.
“Getting to have a taste of that culture and to have an opportunity to learn about how there are so many prominent black figures throughout history who gave up a ton so that they have equal rights is an important thing for us to take a moment to celebrate and learn more about,” Altizer said.