NDB celebrates Black History Month


NDB shared this image as well as other resources to acknowledge Black History Month.

February is Black History Month, making it a crucial time to acknowledge racism from the past and present, as well as motivate change for a better future. NDB has organized events to recognize the month and start the discussion on racism in the school community.

“It’s important to know about Black history, because it’s a part of US history,” explains Professor Lakiba Pittman, an adjunct professor at Menlo College who is working to facilitate NDB’s student listening groups. “History is like the roots. And, what’s happening from day to day is like the tree branches and the fruit. You’ll better understand the tree branches and the fruit if you understand the roots, and the history is in the roots. Sometimes we’re trying to understand things that are happening today, with no knowledge of, when did that start, why did that start? why is that happening? And a lot of the answers to that are in history.”

On February 2, students received an email from NDB recognizing the month’s significance and the school’s plans shared on this document. These events include movie viewings and discussions, student listening groups led by Pittman, and journaling resources

“Very often, students don’t have a teacher of color actually teaching them from K through college,” explains Pittman on why she was interested to participate in NDB’s Black History Month events. “It’s not that often that you have a person of color teaching, and perhaps maybe not even a Black instructor. So, I love teaching in general, and I love teaching all people. So, if and when I have an opportunity to show up, no matter really what the cause, I will tend to show up, but I was happy to know that Notre Dame was interested in social justice, Black History, listening to students in general to see what their issues are. I kind of jumped on it. I was happy to be a part of it, however I could be useful.”

NDB has also been working with their Anti-Racism consultant, Tamisha Williams, on how the community can work together and grow towards equity.

“Part of my work as a consultant who talks to people about anti-racism is to help them also do some internal reflection before they jump into action to make sure that they’re also not replicating some of the very things that they’re hoping to tear down,” explains Willams on what she does in her field.

NDB’s I Am Diverse Club also created resources highlighting Black History Month. A 17-minute video along with a discussion form was shared with students in their history classes. This video talks about how to be a strong ally to African Americans, notable Black people from the past and today, and how the Afro-Latinx community also deserves recognition during this month.

“Just watching their video in full was really inspiring and I told them, after watching it I said, the quality of your video is something that I would use in my work with other professionals,” Williams said. “It’s exciting that Notre Dame has students who are … able to create that level of content, but part of it is because they’re, they’re thinking really deeply about what it is that they want to see as a resource in the school community and also what it is they know that their fellow peers need to hear and also to be engaged what kind of material they need to be engaged with. And so in some ways they are giving feedback to the school to say hey here’s the content we want to see, and in the same breath, they’re also modeling, by saying we’re creating the exact content that we’d love to see, and our classes and our conversations.”

As Black History Month continues, it is important for the community to remember to be strong allies for the Black community and continue the discussion around racism beyond February.

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