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Why Is Black History Month Important?

This post excerpted from Celebrate Diversity, a publication of the Social Justice Collaborative.

Black History Month, observed annually during the month of February in the United States and Canada, and during other months of the year across the globe, is a time for acknowledging the culture, heritage, history, contributions, excellence, and joy of Black and African American communities.

Each year, the theme of Black History Month is chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The 2024 theme, African Americans and the Arts, celebrates the power of the visual and performing arts as a space for making meaning of lived experiences.

Emersonians know the value of the arts and how deeply they are intertwined with communication. This very ethos is manifested in the title of our 2024 Teach-In on Race, A “New Normal” Just Won’t Do: Intersectionality in the Arts and Communication. This annual series of events is an opportunity to engage in critical thinking and creativity to deepen our understanding of systems of oppression and how they impact our culture and communities. The Teach-In on Race is February 7-8, both in person on the Boston campus and remotely.

We have a collective responsibility to learn about and acknowledge history, and to understand how systemic oppression reinforces power and control. As storytellers and change-makers, we must also celebrate the moments of joy that unite us. Through this year’s Teach-In on Race, other events and learning opportunities, including the Boston Public Library’s extensive calendar, and the collection of resources listed below, we hope you make time to pause and reflect on the importance that is Black History Month.


Teach-In on Race: “A New ‘Normal’ Just Won’t Do – Intersectionality in the Arts & Communication
February 7-8
The Teach-In was developed to advance and deepen Emerson’s unwavering commitment to equity and inclusion, with support over the years from the President’s Office, Academic Affairs, Office of Internationalization and Equity, Social Justice Collaborative, Emerson Prison Initiative, Deans’ Fellowship for Racial Equity and Leadership Development, ProArts Consortium, and our dedicated students, faculty, and staff.

Black Russians: The Red Experiment – A Documentary by Yelena Demikovsky, MFA ’04
February 28, 7:00 pm PST
Bright Family Screening Room, Emerson Los Angeles
Join ELA for a compelling screening and discussion with filmmaker Yelena Demikovsky, MFA ’04. Afterward, engage in a Q&A with Demikovsky, followed by a short reception for further conversation and connection.

EBONI (Emerson’s Black Organization with Natural Interest) Events
A Taste of the Diaspora – February 6, 8:00 pm, Owens Multipurpose Room, 172 Tremont. Sample African, Soul, and Caribbean food from local Black-owned restaurants.

Get Down on It: Line Dance Class – February 13, 8:00 pm, Rehearsal Studio 1, Little Building. Learn The Wobble, the Electric Slide, the Mississippi Cha Cha, and the list goes on…

Melanin Care Fair (sponsored by EBONI and Zeta Phi Beta) – February 20, 8:30 pm. Grab some essentials: bonnets, durags, lip balms, face masks, and prepare to be immersed in a healing workshop.

Lunch with the Divine Nine (co-hosted by EBONI, Fusion, and Intercultural Student Affairs – February 28, 12 pm, Dining Center. Join students, faculty, and staff from Black Greek Letter Organizations for lunch in the Dining Center. There’ll be a DJ set and a special menu to close out BHM ’24. 

Rhythm & Art: A Black Exhibition – February 29, 8:00 pm, Huret & Spector Gallery, Tufte. Join EBONI for a night of smooth rhymes and beautiful art created by local Black college students.

Unity Circles for Black-Identifying Students
First Friday of the Month, 11:00 am
Little Building, Room 231
This is a welcoming space designed for connecting, sharing, and seeking peer support in a laid-back atmosphere. Our BIPOC counselors will be available to offer guidance. We invite you to join us, foster friendships, celebrate your identity, and collectively fortify your community!

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