A month filled with performances, film screenings, lectures and other activities is set for African Heritage Month at Borough of Manhattan Community College in February.
The celebration of African American heritage kicked off February 3 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the main campus cafeteria with a celebration of culture and history filled with dance, poetry and music. The theme of this year’s African Heritage month is “Empowering the Next Generation.” Event organizers say that means learning the lessons of the past and present so we can build a better future.
Ashtian Holmes, Director at BMCC's Urban Male Leadership Academy is one of the planning committee members and says this year’s events offer something for everyone.
"We were able to incorporate many of the students' ideas into the program, which gave it a different flavor from years past," said Holmes. "Recent events have sparked much-needed national conversations about race, inequality, and social justice. We wanted to make sure the events address these issues, and provide our students with a platform to let their voices be heard."
Holmes says African history and culture is often overlooked in K-12 education.
“Many of our young people do not have a strong sense of the struggles and accomplishments of people of African descent. Black history is the world's history, and we want our students to know that,” said Holmes. "Empowering the Next Generation" means that we learn from the lessons of the past and present, so we can work towards building a better future."
BMCC nursing major Olivia Murphy said a month filled with events celebrating African Heritage is a great way for all students to come together and learn about each other.
“In every one of my classes, there’s someone from a different country or culture. That gives you an appreciation and respect for others who might be different from yourself,” said Murphy who is originally from Jamaica but now lives in the Bronx.
BMCC criminal justice major Haruna Martala, who came to New York from Ghana, said he was looking forward to attending events planned for later in the month so he could better understand the history of Africans in the United States.
“It’s important for us to understand our history so we can make smarter decisions about our lives in the future,” said Martala who plans to pursue a career in criminal justice.
Schedule of Events:
Feb. 3: African Heritage Month Opening Ceremony
Feb. 11: Film: "The Human Stain"
Feb. 16: On the Shoulders of Giants: Exploring Black History Through Quilts
Feb. 16: Film Screening and Panel Discussion: “When the Bough Breaks”
Feb. 17: Healthier Soul Food
Feb. 17: On the Shoulders of Giants: Exploring Black History Through Quilts
Feb. 18: Film Screening: "Rosa Parks Speaks at BMCC"
Feb. 22: Film Screening: "All the Difference"
Feb. 23: Five Percenters; Hip-Hop and the Urban Cultural Experience
Feb. 23: Muslim in America (symposium)
Feb. 24: The American Dream Featuring the CUNY Creative Arts Team
Feb. 25: The Life and Legacy of Louis Stokes
Feb. 29: Martin Luther King Jr.: Reconstructed (actor/poet David Mills)
Feb. 1 – Feb. 12: The NYC Freedom Trail: Frederick Douglas Landing
Feb. 1 – Feb. 29: : From Slavery to Freedom: The Journey to NYC