Months are designated for AIDS awareness, breast cancer and Hispanic heritage, but this month – as with every February – it is set aside to commemorate Black History Month.
Although the month is designated to honor a specific heritage, some programs on campus are aiming to include many students in an effort to promote the importance of knowing the history of people around campus.
Beverly Hawk, director of Crossroads Community Center, said learning about other cultures is essential and urged students of all cultures to participate in the events that they have planned for the month.
“This month grants us the opportunity to learn more about a culture that we may not have otherwise known,” she said. “It is the time to ask questions and learn about others.”
She said Crossroads will host a Real Talk event on sharing family legacies at the Highlands Community Center Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
“This event is the time to say anything without holding back and share the things that you have learned from an ancestor in your family,” she said.
Hawk said though she is not black, she has learned much about the culture.
“There is so much strength and pride in the culture, and it is important to know about one another and where people have come from,” she said.
Carter G. Woodson began Negro History Week in 1926, which later expanded to the entire month of February in 1976.
Brittney Cooper, assistant professor of women’s studies, said while the month is celebrated in countries outside of the United States, it is mostly celebrated here.
She said the month has become commercialized just as other holidays have over time. This change relates to when people think about the month as well, she said.
“It is similar to the saying, ‘Out of sight, out of mind’, but the problem is black people are never out of sight,” she said. “The media affects what is on own mind and focus.”
Cooper said UA students should realize the importance of not just knowing about their own culture. According to her, it’s also important for blacks to be invested in knowing about Hispanic culture because they have a struggle as well.
“This month showcases to remind people of the importance of those that came before you and remind you that you can do great things as well,” she said.
Gabriela Hernandez, a senior majoring in business management, said she does not think about black history until February, and then it is because of the media. She said she cares about learning the history, and she has attended an event this month that she found interesting.
“I don’t know very in-depth things about the African-American culture, but I don’t know everything there is to know about my own culture,” she said. “It is very essential to continue learning about the cultures around you.”
Samantha Gantt, a freshmen majoring in advertising, said her knowledge of the history is about well-known leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Although black history is not brought up that much until February, she said it is very important for everyone to know the history.
She said she doesn’t attend the events because she doesn’t hear about them. She said she would take friends to the events so that they can know about the history too.
“Everyone should know about our history,” she said. “It is our history.”