Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State holds Black His/Herstory Month Events

Westfield State University will celebrate Black History Month by hosting a month-long celebration of events including panel discussions, art shows, and movie screenings.

Since 1974, Westfield State has held special events during the month of February dedicated to informing students, faculty, and staff as well as the community about the importance of black history, culture, and traditions. Last year, the on-campus celebration was renamed Black His/Herstory Month to stress the importance of women in the black community.  The events are organized by a committee of faculty, staff, students, and sponsored by the Westfield State University Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

This year, Westfield State’s Black His/Herstory Month events follow the theme “A Seat at the Table,” named after singer and poet Solange Knowles’s album of the same title.

“‘A Seat at the Table’ means a chance to be heard, be seen, and a part of change, and to be treated as an equal,” said Ashiah Richeme, director of Diversity & Inclusion. “These events provide opportunities to share the black experience with the many lenses that it possesses.”

“Black His/Herstory is more than just a celebration of culture,” Richeme continued. “It’s sharing, teaching, and an inviting educational /social moment. We cannot navigate the future if we don’t use direction from the past.”

Westfield State Black His/Herstory Month Events:

Wednesday, February 1, 4:30 p.m.-
An artist reception will be held at the Arno Maris Art Gallery for the exhibit “Contemporary Directions: Niger to Afro Futurism” featuring the artwork of Gerardo Castro, Andrae Green,  Ghislaine Sabiti, and Toby Sisson. The Arno Maris Art Gallery is located on the second floor of the Ely Campus Center.

Thursday, February 2, 11:15 a.m. -
An artist talk featuring photojournalist Charter Weeks. The event will be held in the Emilee Dawn Gagnon Event Space in the Ely Library. The photos will remain on display until February 25.

Thursday, February 2, 6 p.m. -
“The Center of the Black Community” Join clergy from local communities as they discuss the importance of religion with the black community and how it shapes culture and ethnicities. The event will be held in Loughman Living Room in Scanlon Hall.

Monday, February 6, 12:15 p.m. -
Join campus members for a brown bag lunch and a viewing of Michelle Obama’s farewell interview with Oprah Winfrey. The event will be held in the Media Services Theatre on the third floor of the Ely Campus Center.

Thursday, February 9, 6:30 p.m. -
“Don’t Touch My Hair” Join in an interactive dialogue with a panel of professional hair stylists on the perceptions of hair in communities of color. The event will be held in the lobby of University Hall.

Tuesday, February 14, 7 p.m. -
“Love and Laughter” Join the Westfield State community for a movie screening of the film “Love Jones” starring Nia Long and Larenz Tate. The event will be held in the Owl’s Nest on the basement level of the Ely Campus Center.

Wednesday, February 15, 11:30 a.m. -
A panel discussion featuring artists Ghislaine Sabiti and Toby Sisson and Dr. H. Zahra Caldwell, assistant professor of ethnic and gender studies, titled “Color in Black Visual Art and Culture.” The event will be held at the Arno Maris Art Gallery located on the second floor of the Ely Campus Center.

Thursday, February 16, 6 p.m. -
“Black Girls Rock” A night to honor and celebrate women of color for their contributions to the campus community. The event will be held in Scanlon Banquet Hall.

Wednesday, February 22, 5:30 p.m. -
“Sorry I Can’t Identify” An open forum to share experiences of the various identities of black. The event will be held in the Loughman Living Room in Scanlon Hall.

Thursday, February 23, 7 p.m. -
“Mad” A student-led discussion of the state of black and brown men in the U.S. and how the media portrays them. This event will be held in the Ely Club Room on the Basement Level of the Ely Campus Center.

Monday, February 27, 7 p.m. -
“Cranes in the Sky” An open mic and poetry slam. The event will be held in the Owl’s Nest on the basement level of the Ely Campus Center.

All of the events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.westfield.ma.edu/offices/student-affairs/black-history-month.

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