Events signal start of Baylor Black History Month festivities

A spoken word event from black history month in 2019. The celebration this year is set to have a variety of different events. Lariat File Photo

By Camille Rasor | Reporter

February is Black History Month, and student organizations and departments from across campus have coordinated a full calendar of events to celebrate African American culture and history.

Over 20 events will take place throughout the month to celebrate. These events range from game nights and lectures to a step show called Battle on the Burning Sands.

San Francisco senior Shevann Steuben, president of the Baylor chapter of the NAACP and intern for the Black Student Coalition within the Department of Multicultural Affairs, was one of the people in charge of coordinating the events that celebrate Black History Month on campus.

She said the events that are put on throughout the month serve to celebrate African American culture and educate people about black history and culture.

“One organization will be doing a self-defense class. One organization will be talking about black mom mortality rates. We’ll be talking about taxes. We’ll be talking about [the] census,” Steuben said. “Some of these are indicative to what’s going on in the time now, and how we can take our history, whether positive or negative, and make sure we’re shaping our future.”

Steuben said that these events are designed to provide a space for people of the black community to share their experiences and culture in a safe environment.

“This is just a time where you can just be outwardly open about your heritage, your culture, being [in] community with other people,” Steuben said.

Birmingham, Ala., senior Michael Rankins, president of Alpha Phi Alpha and healthcare committee chairperson of Baylor’s NAACP chapter, is involved in the planning process of Battle on the Burning Sands. This year will mark the 17th annual step show put on by Baylor’s Alpha Phi Alpha chapter, and it will feature step teams from all over the country.

This event, and others that will take place throughout the month, serve to celebrate African American culture. Rankins said that he thinks that the celebration of Black History Month is important to Baylor because it brings to light a community that is often marginalized.

“Everyone’s history is important, and it’s just the fact that black history so many times has been ignored or overshadowed as if it’s not important to American history. But in fact, it is, as well as everyone else’s history,” Rankins said.

Steuben said he felt the same when talking about both Black History Month and other cultural celebrations that take place throughout the year.

“Cultural months are really important, but it’s also important to accept those cultures every day,” Steuben said.