Throughout February, several ASU academic and extracurricular organizations are working on events and initiatives to highlight Black culture and celebrate Black History Month.
The month is a time to celebrate Black history, culture and excellence in various fields, ranging from science to politics. The ASU community is hosting events like the Celebrating Black Women Entrepreneurs Panel, multiple roundtable discussions and more.
Digital guides created by ASU Library
To educate the community about the Black Lives Matter Movement as well as Black history, ASU Library created a digital Black Lives Matter guide with books, movies and historical archives for community members to use.
The library decided to develop the guide after the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer and the following nationwide protests, to answer questions people might have after the events.
Deborah Abston, a liaison librarian for the ASU Library's social science division, said she wanted to have a space to hold all the resources and materials regarding Black history.
"It turned from being a small guide, and then it just grew," Abston said. "It continues to grow and grow because we're constantly adding things to it."
The resources are accessible to not only the ASU community, but also the surrounding communities, such as the city of Tempe. From K-12 Educator resources to police violence data, the guide consists of primary and secondary sources about Black life throughout U.S. history.
Lectures and events from the School of Social Transformation
The African and African American Studies Department at the School of Social Transformation has been hosting events throughout the month of February, focusing on Black history and excellence at ASU.
Enrique Martin Palacios, communication and marketing coordinator at SST, said the topic of African American celebration and history is not just a celebration this month, but a continuous celebration throughout the year.
On Feb. 10, AAAS worked with Sun Devil Athletics and the Black African Coalition to highlight the history of Black activism in ASU.
Mako Fitts Ward, assistant professor and faculty head of AAAS at SST, said she wanted to celebrate and honor Black activism and the role it plays at ASU.
"I think last year offered opportunities for different areas of campus and different stakeholders, faculty, staff and students, to collaborate more," Ward said. "This month was a great opportunity to talk about the history of Black protest and having an event to remind the campus community that we have this rich history of Black student activism at ASU."
One upcoming event the department is putting on is a talk with Joshua Myers about his new book, "Cedric Robinson: The Time of the Black Radical Tradition." Students will have an opportunity to meet with Myers after the event for a fireside chat. The event is Feb. 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Toward the end of the month, the department is teaming up with other schools at ASU for a Black History Month Distinguished Lecture. It will feature Lewis Gordon as the speaker, and the event will be held Feb. 24 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Ward said she is excited to see students and organizations getting together to organize and demand accountability from the ASU administration.
“You're seeing this month, more Black radical intellectuals coming to ASU and speaking to our community and encouraging our faculty, staff and students to stay vocal, stay active and keep doing the work,” Ward said.
Piper Center hosts a writing competition
To honor the legacy and history of Black Arizonans, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing opened up a writing competition, which sought submissions of essays, poems and other written or oral works from Black Arizonans.
The Center is partnering with Heritage Square Foundation and Emancipation Arts, LLC to celebrate the experiences, lives and works of Black Arizonans. This is part of a larger project, called Indiscernibles in Arizona.
Jacob Friedman, coordinator senior at the Piper Center, said he wants this to be an opportunity for people to showcase their personalities, and submissions should focus on the central theme of The Great Migration, which was a 20th-century historical migration movement of African Americans from the South to other parts of the U.S.
Friedman said the Great Migration is not emphasized enough in Arizona, and he hopes the submissions will highlight how this movement has an impact on Arizona's history.
"We believe writing is a powerful art form that we want to make available to people to use it to create power for themselves," Friedman said.
Overall, the organizations hope the Black History Month events and initiatives do not stop in February, but continue throughout the year.
"It's nice to have Black History (Month), but we should be learning all history all the time," Abston said.
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