Lakeland University’s 2021 Black History Month celebration in February will feature five events that respect and deepen the understanding of history and the contribution of African Americans.
Movie Nights and a Soul Food Night were held at the campus on Feb. 6, 7, and 12, respectively. In the Movie Night, participants watched movies which featured to African Americans; “42,” “Coming to America,” “Remember the Titans,” and “Hidden Figures.” In the Soul Food Night, a special dinner was served by Terrence Bedford, Lakeland graduate who are a passionate chef who specialized in private dinners, at the cafeteria. He prepared American home meals; fried chickens, baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet cornbread, and cheesecakes.
LeShay Guy, a director of Multicultural Affairs as well as a Student Engagement Advocate, and LaJill Edge, an administrative assistant of Student Engagement Advocate, planned and organized Black History Month events. “Planning these types of events are important because they bring the campus a sense of diversity and enhances the educational experience. Diversity events also make students feel valued, welcomed in the college community, and prevent feelings of isolation,” Guy said.
The purpose of Black History Month events is to show support for what the month stands for but to also give students of other ethnic groups a chance to learn more about the African American community, heritage, and the importance of this month. “I feel that it gives a chance for those of us who are black to really appreciate our heritage and culture, but it also gives students of other ethnic groups a chance to learn and appreciate it as well,” Guy mentioned.
Unlike past years, Movie Nights and a Soul Food Night were held in a social distancing manner. Guy explained the perspective as an event organizing member that “It is definitely unfortunate, but at the same time it helps in the creativity. Being able to host for the students and give them an enjoyable time and keep them safe and being cautious is always a positive.”
Edge feels as though this pandemic has also taken an effect “the pandemic has changed a lot of things. But it is time to figure out how to handle this pandemic and get back to being involved on campus without being fearful and spreading the virus.” Guy finishes her outlook on being a part of planning these events by saying “I just hope that the students enjoyed the movie nights, and the events moving forward. I am always open to suggestions, and I am open to different ethnicities, aspects, and availabilities as well.”
To learn more about the chef, Bedford, and his meals, check the social media account of Fryin’ Me Krazy. In addition to Movie Nights and a Soul Food Night, three more Black History Month events are upcoming between the middle to the end of February; Game Night on Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m., Gospel Service on Feb. 24 at noon, and Essence of Heritage Watch Party on Feb. 27.