Talk of the University: “Why Black History Month?”


Amanda Duncklee, Community Editor

February is Black History Month and members of the Marywood community took the time to explore Black History.

Marywood University offered a space to discuss Black History: community members gathered in the Latour Room of the Nazareth Student Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to discuss topics related to Black History Month and its importance.

Dr. Adam Shprintzen, assistant professor of history, and Jovanna Laurencin, sophomore, hospitality management major and President of Diversity United, collaborated to facilitate the event.

Shprintzen raised question on the impact of Black History Month and whether or not it gets proper recognition. “Does [Black History Month] melt into the background? Is it just another event on the calendar?”

Shprintzen and Laurencin also presented and discussed topics such as the Black Lives Matter movement, identity, culture, the Flint, Michigan water crisis and the year-long importance of Black History Month, according to an email Ross Novak, senior director of student conduct and residence life, sent to students and administration members.

People filtered in and out throughout the two-hour event and were free to listen, ask questions and raise topics of discussion in addition to the planned topics.

Attendee Michael Stracci, a higher education administration grad student, felt that Black History Month contains significance beyond a single month.

“[Black History Month] is something that should be on the lips of people throughout the year,” said Stracci. “I think this issue is one of the most important we have to talk about.”

“Ultimately, one of the goals is that Black History Month is a part of our history. Ignoring or denying that is ignoring or denying this history of the world we live in,” said Shprintzen.

Laurencin and Shprintzen listed topics of discussion on a slideshow that was on display throughout the event. The slideshow featured links to resources online, including a video of Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy performance of songs “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright.”

Laurencin referenced Beyoncé’s song “Formation” to explain to audience members that black pride and celebrating one race does not equate to the degradation of another.

“[Beyoncé] sings about how she likes she daughter, with baby hair and an afro,” said Laurencin. “These are things that people point out. [Black people] have all these characteristics that make black people who they are.”

The topic of the Black Lives Matter and its effectiveness emerged as a topic of discussion.

“Black Lives Matter has been incredible successful movement,” said Shprintzen. Laurencin noted, “By saying ‘Black Lives Matter,’ you’re not saying all lives don’t.”

Laurencin bode the audience with advice once the event concluded. “Don’t be afraid to start this conversation with friends,” said Laurencin.

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