Black History Month events on campus

UW Oshkosh is celebrating Black History Month with several events in the month of February, all tailored to educate, inform and involve UWO students on what black history is and why it’s important.

According to Vice President of the Black Student Union Imani Ware, black history started before everyone thinks.

“There was much more history that we should celebrate and that we should focus on the great parts of black history in addition to the things we already know about, like slavery,” Ware said.

Black Thursday is one of UWO’s major historical events. African American studies minor Brianna Langs said the Oshkosh 94 were tired of being uncomfortable, so they went to the chancellor’s office and asked for support.

“And the chancellor said that he wasn’t going to give them support,” Langs said. “Some people got really frustrated and started causing destruction, and all of them either got suspended or expelled.”

Ware said the Oshkosh 94 motivates her to never give up because she knows how important the event is to her own education.

“I feel like I’m not just graduating for myself, I’m graduating for them as well because they fought to walk across the stage here, and they got expelled so they never could,” Ware said. “So when I do walk across the stage, I feel like I will be walking for them.”

Black Student Union President Daja Johnson said there are many events on campus to honor Black History Month.

“Coming up, we have a social justice panel with Jeffrey Pickron [Feb. 21] and a speaker, Dr. Angela Davis (Feb. 28), who is a black activist and part of the Black Panther movement.”

other events that will be happening to honor Black History Month include UW Oshkosh Black Alumni Networking Symposium (Feb. 20), Navigating The Inequalities (Feb. 21) and Black Greek 101 Panel (Feb. 26).

Johnson said she is excited about these events, but she wants to make sure there is a diverse group of people attending them.

“If we celebrate Black History Month but only have black people there, then we’re only hearing one side of the story,” Johnson said. “I think everyone deserves to hear about this culture and its heritage.”

Ware said that she wants more support from administration in planning events for Black History Month.

“It’s more heartfelt for me if the school and the chancellor plan these types of events rather it just be mainly the multicultural organizations putting them on,” Ware said. “I feel like when we plan the majority of these events, it’s just making me feel like we are the only ones who are trying to educate other people that go here.”

Langs said that she is helping to plan an event where Davis will come and speak to students about social justice.

“Dr. Davis was very involved in the civil rights movement, and she has committed her whole life to social justice,” Langs said. “She’s definitely going to talk about the justice for women of color.”

Langs said that UWO should put on more events like this because it is beneficial to learn outside of a classroom environment.

“I think that everything that happens outside of the class is just as beneficial as what happens inside of the class because you’re going to meet new people and you’re going to learn new ideas,” Langs said. “Having events like this on campus gives you the opportunity to meet and learn about new people and things that you would have never explored, and that’s really the college experience.”

Ware said that she always celebrates Black History Month because it is a time to reflect on her roots.

“Black History Month to me means celebration in my life, and I normally celebrate my black history every day,” Ware said. “Black History Month is a month to remind myself where my people came from, and even though they went through something tragic, they came out ten times harder.”