February is Black History Month, and to celebrate this month a group of students organized a Black Her-story event on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. in Crawford. The event started with the organizers, Madeline Emile (‘20), Yasmin Mustafa (‘20), Fakrat Alapa (‘19) and Ayssatou Ba (‘19), introducing themselves and giving brief histories of different influential black women who are often overlooked in history. They emphasized that they were telling the women’s stories in color (including photos of the women in color) because their stories “are often told in black and white.”
They told the stories of Rebecca Walker, a writer and important voice of third-wave feminism; June Jordan, a poet and essayist; Bell Hooks, a feminist author and activist; Henrietta Lacks, whose cells served as the basis for almost all cancer research; Edwidge Danticat, a novelist and speaker; Mary McLeod Bethune, who started a private school for black women, which became Bethune-Cookman University; Tarana Burke, who founded the #MeToo movement in 2006; and the Founders of the Black Lives Matter movement: Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza.
“After these brief overviews, Emile urged the group to, “Learn her-story, tell her-story, live her-story.”
After breaking for a Chipotle dinner provided by the organizers, the attendees split into four smaller groups, each with an organizer to help lead the conversation. The questions posed to the group were. “Are black women really too strong?” “Where are black women on the social ladder” and “Who is the modern black women?” These questions provoked deep conversations spanning from black women’s mental health to black women in the workplace to black women as role models. The large group then came back together to discuss one final question, “How should we celebrate black women?” which prompted answers such as listening to them, educating oneself about the issues that affect black women and holding more events like the Black Her-story one.
At the end of the event, Emile explained, “I hope we can pass this on to more black girls and they can continue this event as well as having these conversations in class because I think that’s where it’s most important.”