NMSU photo by Derek Flodmand
NMSU will commemorate Black History Month with special events hosted by the Black Student Association and Black Programs in collaboration with the NMSU and Doña Ana Community College libraries.
This year’s theme is “Black to Black: Building Leadership, Advocacy, Community and Knowledge.”
“The idea behind Black History Month this year was collaboration and community building. All of our events to some extent are some form of collaboration,” said Ignacio Alvarado, president of the Black Student Association and a senior majoring in animal science. “It was very important for us to help build a community that’s more robust, inclusive, diverse and welcoming to all.”
The kick-off event, “Power through Pedagogy,” will feature a panel of Black scholars discussing the significance of education and their experiences as leaders for the next generation. It will take place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 1 on Zoom (ID: 94630892214).
Panelists will include Monique Matute-Chavarria, Eric House, H. Prentice Baptiste, Erica Kristina Reid and Patrick Turner – all from NMSU – as well as Bobbie Green, president of the Doña Ana County NAACP and adjunct professor at City University of New York City, and Sean Kardar, biology instructor at DACC.
“This is an opportunity to highlight the significant contributions of our esteemed Black faculty and staff here on our very own campus,” said Kimberly York, interim director of Black Program. “We cannot understate the recognition that they deserve.”
Every Wednesday throughout February, the DACC East Mesa Campus Library will screen a documentary focused on Black life in the Academic Resources Building, second floor. The featured films will include:
- 10 a.m. Feb. 2: “Unforgivable Blackness”
- 1 p.m. Feb: 9: “Interview with John Lewis”
- 10 a.m. Feb. 16: “Black Feminist”
- 1 p.m. Feb. 23: “Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten”
Masks are required for all attendees and must be worn at all times, per New Mexico’s current public health order.
The “Worthy Wisdom Elder’s Podcast” will make its debut at noon Feb. 3. The podcast, produced entirely by Alvarado and other members of Black Student Association, will recognize and highlight current Black community leaders from Las Cruces.
York said the new podcast series is a spinoff of the “Black Excellence in Higher Education” podcast released last year.
“In our community, and in most cultures, our elders are the legacy holders of knowledge and information,” York said. “Blacks here in Las Cruces have a very unique legacy and have made some very significant contributions.”
The Black Health Matters Fair will make its return Feb. 17. The virtual event, now a tradition during Black History Month at NMSU, will take place from noon to 2:30 p.m. on Zoom (ID: 93816131413).
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, Aggie Cupboard, Casa de Peregrinos, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, and other organizations will participate in the fair and share health-related information and resources. The event will also feature a 30-minute interactive exercise.
York said the health fair aims to address the importance of health and well-being in the Black community.
“There are ongoing disparities in health outcomes in the Black community, and this is always a great opportunity to bring our community health partners together to share available resources,” she said.
Drummer Fred Simpson will headline an African drum and dance performance Feb. 24, featuring dancers from the NMSU Dance Program in the Department of Kinesiology. The hybrid event will begin at 6 p.m.
A limited number of guests will be allowed to watch the performance in person at Rentfrow Hall on the NMSU Las Cruces campus. Those who are interested in participating in person or remotely should contact email@example.com.
The monthlong celebration will conclude Feb. 25 with a 1970s-themed, disco-skating party at the Spot Family Entertainment Center, 170 W. Picacho Ave. The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will celebrate Black culture with food, fashion and music.
“It’ll be fun for us to dress up in our 70s outfits, dance to Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and other staple artists from the 70s, and just have a good time,” Alvarado said.
York encourages all NMSU community members and the public to participate in the events as a way to build community.
“This is an opportunity to build community that’s not based on racial or ethnic barriers,” she said.
Alvarado added that the events will be a “great educational experience.”
“We will have a variety of events that could be beneficial to everyone,” he said.