[SPOKANE, Wash] Exploring black culture through fashion in a Cultural Runway, a spoken word artist, a winner of The Voice and an award-winning movie followed by a panel with the director. These are just some of the events featured at Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College in honor of Black History Month.
The Black Student Unions (BSU) at SCC and SFCC organized most of the events to educate people and so black students felt heard throughout the month.
“Everything we do is student-focused. This is just another example of us supporting the mission of providing the students with an excellent education, transforming their lives and expanding their access to opportunities,” said Priya Osborne, SCC’s community outreach manager and BSU advisor.
“We’re excited to bring to our community these events that celebrate how vital and inspiring the contributions of Black Americans have been to what we know as America,” said Francisco Salinas, SFCC’s dean of equity, diversity and inclusion. “Every year when we celebrate Black History Month, it is a renewed opportunity to reconcile where we’ve been as a nation, how far we have to go to fully realize our espoused ideals and how fortunate we are to have been blessed with such rich and diverse contributions to the fabric of our culture.”
For Black History Month, SCC’s two major events will be:
SFCC’s events will be:
The Black Student Union is holding a student-led presentation, Famous Forgotten Figures, on the forgotten black people who were crucial in US history. Part 1 will be on February 13 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at SFCC’s Student Union Building Lounge. Part 2 will be held on February 27 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at the Student Union Building Lounge.
Javier Colon, the winner of the inaugural season of The Voice reality show competition series, will be performing on February 15 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Student Union Building Lounge.
Osborne said the centerpiece of SCC’s events is the Buffalo Soldiers screening with the director, Dru Holley, holding a panel afterward. Food will be catered by local restaurant Chikn-N-Mo as a way to support a black-owned business. Osborne is also excited for the Cultural Runway show, which will highlight black fashion throughout different decades to “promote how beautiful black culture is.”
SCC’s BSU vice-president, Nelly Ahadi, emphasized the importance of recognizing Black History Month.
It had a huge impact on me as a teenager,” she said. “The value I see as a black person when I look myself in the mirror. And it helps me not have to explain myself over and over again to people about my skin color, my name, my region, if I can read, where I came from and my goals.”
SFCC’s BSU president, Testimony Akinwumi, and vice-president, Ayen Anei, are anticipating the Famous Forgotten Figures event to shed light on important black people who history has nearly erased, like Florence B. Price, the first black woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer and to have a composition played by a major orchestra.
“This event is important because, in school growing up, we just learn about three prominent black figures: Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman,” Anei said. “These events are to recognize and highlight the accomplishments of lesser-known figures.”
Osborne, Akinwumi and Anei note how supportive the colleges have been toward helping the Black Student Unions put on events.
“SFCC has been really accommodating,” Akinwumi said. “I’ve had so many great teachers who have been really helpful and promote events in class, and people are willing to educate themselves and let us educate them.”
Osborne said that SCC President Kevin Brockbank told her about the Buffalo Soldiers movie and put her in contact with its representatives.
“I believe that he is trusting that we will represent SCC well and inform others of what events we are putting on. And all of that is, ultimately, to help our students,” she said. “SCC is doing a wonderful job of empowering us to do our thing.”
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Rachel Román at Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org, Priya Osborne at Priya.email@example.com and Carl Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCS provides education and services in a six-county region of Eastern Washington, operates Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College and is the largest provider of Head Start and Early Childhood Education in the region. Each year, nearly 30,000 people – from infants to senior citizens – are provided educational services by CCS.