Dinner celebrates Black History Month

The Office of Residence Life Students of Color Mentoring, Aiding, Retaining and Teaching, or SMART, program hosted its annual Taste of February event Friday night in 101 Olscamp Hall.

The theme this year was “Our Untold Stories,” which touched on different and less discussed aspects of Black History.

Diversity and Retention Initiatives Coordinator Ana Brown welcomed attendees at the start of the event before releasing them to dinner, provided by Dining Services’ catering.

The dinner was inspired by the mix of cultures and people found in the southern city of New Orleans, including crab beignets, hush puppies and shrimp and grits.

Following dinner, students who are part of the SMART program presented five separate presentations, highlighting various parts of Black History.

“Untold Stories of Black Hollywood” highlighted black actors, writers and directors.

The next group played a trivia game with the attendees in their presentation titled “The Evolution of Black Women,” which included prominent black women from the 60s to the present day.

“Untold Stories of Political Activists” highlighted important people and places in black activism such as speakeasies and Black Wall Street.

To keep with the importance of representation, a presentation called “Afro-Latinos” talked about people who are of both African and Latino heritages. They discussed the black populations of Latin America and the issues they face having a dual identity.

“History in Music” featured various songs from over the years that expressed the trials and tribulations that the black community has faced. Artists mentioned included Marvin Gaye, James Brown, N.W.A. and Kendrick Lamar.

Brown closed the ceremony with a thank you to both attendees and to students, who she said had been working since October on the presentations featured.

For SMART Team Leader Jessica Wells, this was her third year participating in Taste of February.

“It took us months to get it together,” Wells said. “We wanted to make sure every identity was represented. There’s so many times in our classes and the world where underrepresented people are often tossed to the side.”

She called the importance of representing other identities in the presentation “pivotal” to make sure that it was part of the program.

As a senior, this is her last year participating in the event and she called the feeling of it being her last one, “surreal.”

“I really am proud of the staff that I was able to be a part of and it was just a real nice event,” Wells said.

The article has been updated by the original author.
This article was originally published on Feb. 9, 2016 in the independent student publication, The BG News, which can be found here.