In honor of Black History Month, the University announced a series of events to recognize the contributions of the Black community to the United States. In a Feb. 1 email, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Lauren Haynie and Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lee Bitsóí acknowledged the significance of Black History Month and previewed the various ways in which the University plans to celebrate. 

The intent of Black History Month is to facilitate reflection on and consideration of “how communities of color are constantly striving to build an inclusive community based on mutual understanding and respect,” Haynie and Bitsóí wrote. 

The email highlighted and invited community members to visit the University Archives’ African and African American studies-related collections. The collections include Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1967 speech on campus, the “Remembering Ford & Sydeman Halls” online collection and rare editions of works from authors including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston and Wallace Thurman. The archives are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday. 

A “thought-provoking” panel discussion called “A Call to Action: Supporting Women of Color in Our Community” is to take place on Friday, Feb. 16 in the Hassenfeld Conference Center from 12-1:30 p.m, with a virtual option for those who are unable to attend in person. The event will “offer dialogue and practical strategies with the aim to support women of color leaders in higher education.” Students and other community members can RSVP online

Three different events intended to “elevate” the voices of Black students and celebrate their communities will be held by the Brandeis Black Student Organization in the next week. On Feb. 8, BSO is hosting an open dialogue session, “BLK Homecoming: Talk About It.” The event is meant to encourage students of all different backgrounds to “engage in meaningful conversations” concerning issues impacting the Black community. It will take place from 7-10 p.m. in the Carl J. Shapiro Theater.

On Feb. 10, the BSO is presenting a “Homecoming Gala” in Levin Ballroom from 6:30-10:30 p.m. The event’s description invites students to “step into an evening of elegance and celebration at the Enchanted Evening Homecoming Gala.” In addition to being a social event, the gala is a commemoration of Black achievements, culture and the community’s “unbreakable spirit.”

BSO’s third event, the “BSO Homecoming Showcase,” is an annual showcase meant to celebrate the Black community’s “rich and vibrant culture.” The event will feature art, music, dance and spoken word performances. It will take place on Feb. 11 in Levin Ballroom from 6:30-10:30 p.m. 

Bitsóí and Haynie wrote that the University was founded on the “premise of seeking justice” and that Brandeis “contributes an important piece in our nation's history of the Civil Rights Movement.”

“We look forward to you joining us in our commemoration and celebration of our diverse Black communities and populations at Brandeis and beyond,” Haynie and Bitsóí wrote.