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Celebrating Black History Month

Editors note: This story was originally published on @TheU.

By Jasen Lee—University of Utah

Across the nation, February is recognized as Black History Month, with scores of celebrations scheduled to take place throughout the country. On campus, the University of Utah’s Black Cultural Center is observing the 23rd annual commemoration of the month set aside to highlight the culture and contributions of African Americans over the history of the United States.

This year’s theme is “Black Untitled.” For the uninitiated, this refers to the way individuals who identify as Black see themselves as opposed to how others may see them.

“Essentially, it means that your blackness is not defined by society or those that are around you but you get to define your own blackness,” explained Meligha Garfield, director of U’s Black Cultural Center (BCC). “It’s untitled meaning there’s a journey that still awaits and you are defining who you are in your blackness.”

In previous years Garfield said the BCC often focused on the notion that being Black is not monolithic as a way to dismiss the idea that Black people all have the same thoughts and beliefs. The new theme is specifically meant to dispel those erroneous misconceptions.

“We really want to hone in for our students, faculty and staff that you can really define your blackness any way that you deem fit,” he said. “If I was describing African Americans to a non-Black person, I would encourage folks to not pigeonhole or stick with stereotypes but to branch out really explore what is Blackness as a global phenomenon.”

For a detailed listing of the BCC’s full calendar of Black History Month events, click this link.

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