Updated February 8, 2021
This year, Montclair State is taking much of its Black Heritage Month celebrations virtual, including its annual flag raising ceremony, which was held Monday, February 8.
President Susan A. Cole read a proclamation and members of the campus community shared their thoughts and prose on the importance of honoring Black heritage and the accomplishments of civil rights activists of the past and carrying on the tradition of fighting for social and racial justice.
“African Americans and other people of African ancestry serve our university in many capacities; and they are well represented in our student body. They play a valuable role at the University and have enriched our campus with the highest levels of leadership, intellectual growth, and artistic achievement,” read Cole. “Montclair State acknowledges the numerous contributions that African Americans and other people of African descent continue to make in our pluralistic society and reaffirms its commitment to equal opportunities to members of this racial group, as well as the larger population, and by supporting their many endeavors on campus.”
The theme this year, “Passing the Torch of Greatness” is inspired by the loss of civil rights icons including U.S. Representative John Lewis in 2020 and the need for continued commitment to change, equity and social justice. Further, the disproportionate impact of the pandemic has magnified health disparities in the Black community.
Cole encouraged the students attending the virtual ceremony that “the point and purpose” of the University is to prepare them to become future leaders and to follow in the footsteps of the great leaders who have gone before them. “Prepare yourself to make a positive change and difference in this world,” she told them.
According to Sandra Lewis, a Psychology professor and director of African American Studies, this is the 33rd year that the University has celebrated Black Heritage Month. Throughout this month, events and activities include discussions on the Black experience, healing and social justice, as well as a movie night, Black history trivia challenges, a virtual Black history museum, book discussions, an open mic night and an arts and cultural showcase.
Specifically, some of the events that will be on Zoom, Instagram or other digital platforms include:
- A screening of How it Feels to be Free, sponsored by the Office for Social Justice and Diversity.
- Black Heritage Trivia Challenge, sponsored by Campus Recreation.
- Virtual Black History Museum, sponsored by the Black student organizations, NAACP and LadiesFIRST.
- Several Black student organizations are hosting conversations to support healing from isolation and other concerns related to the pandemic.
- Capoeira Brazilian Martial Art Demonstration sponsored by the Latinx Caucus and African American Caucus.
A full list of Black Heritage Month events can be found at the Office for Social Justice and Diversity here.
You may also like:
And Justice for All