To celebrate Black History Month at California Baptist University, Community Life and the Black Student Union (BSU) collaborated to host a variety of events, including a new gala held on the evening of Feb. 8 in the Community Life Lounge. Students were encouraged to attend wearing semi-formal attire while enjoying food, music, raffles and the company of others.
The successful organization of the gala stemmed from the attendees’ interaction with cultural food, music and more. It represents more than just a community, but a convergence of generations of people.
“Events such as the Black History Month Gala provide an opportunity to showcase African American culture, through spoken word, music, food and fellowship,” said Charles Lee-Johnson, associate dean of the Division of Social Work.
“The gala is a replication of the long-standing practice of African Americans using communal gatherings as a way to encourage, empower and equip one another with the love and support that is needed to combat the evils of oppression. Attending events like the Black History Month Gala gives participants the opportunity to connect with students and faculty of color, learn about African American culture and promote unity and oneness within the Christian community. ”
Through the addition of the gala, students received the opportunity to recognize and appreciate the Black culture in a fun and fresh way.
“When I heard about this event, I was really interested in going because I’m always trying to go to the different CBU events like this one to learn more about different cultures,” said Isabelle Ray, junior creative writing major. “I try my best to enlighten myself to other people’s experiences and differences. It’s interesting to learn about since culture really impacts the person you are and what you value. Especially because I have friends that are part of the Black community, I wanted to know how I could learn about their background and support them more.”
Students from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and experiences came together at this event. Ray said she believes the best way to connect deeply with friends in the community is to celebrate and support them at any chance given.
Lee Johnson is assisting in hosting the movie night for Black History Month, which will be held on Feb. 25 on the Recreation Center rooftop. The gala and movie night are just two of the main events throughout the month through which students can celebrate the beauty of Black culture.
There are other events where Black History Month will be a feature, such as basketball games. One game was held on Feb. 10 and the other one will take place on Feb. 24. are they specifically dedicated to Black History Month? In what ways? There was also an artistic night held on Feb. 8, which was similar to the gala, though it was a more casual event showcasing poetry and art relating to Black culture.
“We want to educate, bring awareness and celebrate black culture on our campus,” said Emilee Thompson, assistant director of Campus Activities for Community Life. “As we continue to grow in our diversity, we want to make sure that our student population is being seen and appreciated. When I see the student body come together to recognize and celebrate other cultures, it reflects the unity of Christ.”
Cultural events such as the gala and the artistic event put a spotlight on the diversity of CBU’s student and faculty population, ensuring that people from diverse backgrounds are noticed and appreciated by the community.“