Western hopes to excite, educate campus with black history month

By Andy Garrison

February 4, 2013

Black History Month at Western is shaping up to be anything but boring.

The Marching Cobras, an African American dance team, came to Rolling Hills to celebrate Black History Month. Joyce Stevenson | Staff Writer

The Marching Cobras, an African American dance team, came to Rolling Hills to celebrate Black History Month. Joyce Stevenson | Staff Writer

All month long there will be a long list of things to do to celebrate; from cultural movies to a taboo talk event, the Black Student Union and the Center for Multicultural Education are hoping to bring a lot of passion and excitement to the table this year.

One of the most exciting events that is coming to campus is accomplished actor Gregory Gibson Kenney who will be performing “Rosa Parks: Please Keep Your Seat.” Kenney has performed in such films as “Silence of the LambJackson’s: An American Dream” and “The Wonder Boys” as well as many commercials, printed advertisements and theatrical performances. Kenney also operates an organization called “EDUCATE Us” where he travels to schools and colleges performing a  30 minute monologue followed by an optional 15 minute question and answer section. Each monologue he performs portrays a historical figure and their triumphs, trials and goals.

Surprisingly, it is not as difficult as one may think to get talent of Kenney’s caliber to come to Western. CME program assistant Jordann Barron explains.

“Because of how early we plan it, it’s a lot easier,” Barron said. “Because we are a university and it is educational they are more than happy to come and help out.”

While most students were at home with their families, CME was already hard at work planning out Black History Month activities.

“A semester ahead of time is when we start planning for things,” Barron said. “Over Christmas break we were here for two weeks after the students left and that’s normally when we do most of our planning.”

BSU chair of major attractions, Leah Hayes, talks about why she feels Western needs such a large variety of events as well as why they structure them the way that they do.

“We don’t want anything to be like a lecture,” Hayes said. “I mean we are students too and we don’t want to go to class and then go to an event that is another lecture. We want it to be fun and we need to learn to progress; we feel like we really need to educate the campus on this and sometimes certain groups of students might feel like they aren’t represented and you know, this is our month to let the campus know we are here and we appreciate our heritage and come and join us in celebrating.”

BSU president Tobias Pointer also feels strongly about having Black History Month come to Western.

“It’s important so you can get a facet of more than one race on campus,” Pointer said. “I would say that a lot of black and, not necessarily white, but a lot of cultures don’t mesh well because they simply don’t know about each other’s culture; so that’s why we try and have plenty of events out there where we have more than one facet of culture, so you can get to know each other.”

One of these events is going to be a game night Hayes goes on to explain.

“It’s just like playing a game of Jeopardy and people can win prizes and things like that,” Hayes said.

These are just a few of the events that are coming this month, for a complete list contact the CME  department at cme@missouriwestern.edu or 816.271.4150. There is also a mass email with a full list of the events to come and informational posters around campus.