5 months ago

Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month, an opportunity each year to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and to recognize their central role in our community and society. In the past year we’ve witnessed the accomplishments of Black leaders nationally and locally. In 2021, Eric Adams was elected mayor of New York City; Kamala Harris was inaugurated as our first Black and woman US Vice President. Amanda Gorman, a bright young voice, was appointed as the nation’s poet laureate. Just last week, President Biden committed to nominating the nation’s first Black female Supreme Court Justice to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

As we observe Black History Month in our School of Education (SOE), we are proud that our School has been an anchor for education in New York City. For decades we have educated professionals, produced transformational scholarship, and served the needs of New York City schools. Foundational to this work has been the contributions of the Black members of our community. Their efforts are central to improving lives by preparing deeply thoughtful, knowledgeable and highly effective teachers, administrators and counselors and to addressing existing societal inequities and injustices.

Events at the School of Education

Last week our School held a conversation entitled Let’s Talk About Equity, a student-led conversation about race and equity in the School of Education. The event was the result of efforts by our students with the support of dedicated staff and faculty to begin our semester with the voices and experiences of our Black students and other students of color in mind. In the coming months, we will continue this conversation in several ways:

  • A Student Conversation with the Dean on February 2, 2022 at 1 pm
  • A faculty and staff conversation on February 16, 2022 at 1 pm
  • Our committee on Equity and Advocacy will contribute to our reflection and action on racial healing, equity and justice when Dr. Jamila Lyiscott, author of Black Appetite. White Food: Issues of Race, Voice, and Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom, returns to offer a keynote address and conversation on May 5, 2022.

Events at Hunter College

Throughout February, campuses across CUNY will be offering a variety of Black History Month themed events, including these events here at Hunter College:

  • Diverse Educators in the Era of Social Justice and COVID Conference hosted by CUNY NYC Men Teach on February 9, 2022: This conference will highlight topics in education such as Social-Emotional Learning and Mental Health, Culturally Responsive Education, Educational Policy, Mentoring and Support, Teacher Preparation, and how to be an educational activist in your classroom as well as your community.
  • Hunter College’s Black History Month Convocation on February 10, 2022: Professor Christina Greer from Fordham University will be the keynote speaker.
  • The Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery Exhibit: The Black Index from February 1, 2022 through Sunday, April 3, 2022 at the Hunter College Art Galleries: The artists included in The Black Index build upon the tradition of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonialist images. Using drawing, performance, printmaking, sculpture, and digital technology to transform the recorded image, these artists question our reliance on photography as a privileged source for documentary objectivity and understanding.
  • Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College presents Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality on February 28, 2022 at 6 pm. The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College will welcome author Tomiko Brown-Nagin for a discussion of her book Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality. The interlocutor will be Hunter College Professor of History D’Weston Haywood.

Ways to Engage

As we celebrate Black history in Education through our continued work, here are examples of ways to engage as individuals and as a community:

Please let us know about your events during Black History month so we can post them to our News and Events section.

I encourage each of us to find ways to celebrate events throughout the month to acknowledge Black history in our community and urge our participation.