Honoring Black History throughout the month of February, the College organized a wide array of events that highlight the rich heritage and unique cultures of the African Diaspora. From Africa Repatriation to discussions on the difficulties faced by Black Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, students, faculty and staff spent the month discovering the diverse history that informs the lives of our Black colleagues, classmates and fellow citizens of the world.
On Feb. 1, the College kicked off its celebration with an Enough Is Enough teach-in series session, Enough Is Enough: COVID-19 Vaccinations, Myths vs. Facts. With Dr. Tamika Curry serving as moderator, Dr. Ala Stanford of the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium led a discussion covering topics like the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, distrust of the vaccine within the Black community and distribution issues within Black communities in Philadelphia.
The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium first started as a response to the overwhelming lack of access to testing in the Philadelphia area, first covering the cost of testing for uninsured persons, and later helping to distribute vaccines. Now, Stanford says, they are fighting to keep testing accessible in Philadelphia's Black and brown communities, who have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 virus. “We're staying in the community of the people most impacted so that they can walk from their house, so they can get a bus to the church, so they can get an Uber to the Liacouras, not so they have to try travel eight miles [to get tested] somewhere else that's not in their community.”
On Feb. 17, Dr. Generals hosted a fireside chat where he utilized Isabel Wilkerson's Caste: The Origins of our Discontents as a launching pad from which to frame a discussion about race in America. The book, Dr. Generals explained, dissects the experience of Black Americans as being contained within a caste system rather than a socially mobile class system like we are taught to believe. The book details the eight pillars of caste, and discusses how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s revolutionary practices were partially inspired by the way that southeast Asians in India and Pakistan were able to gain independence from Great Britain in 1947. When Dr. King visited India in 1959, he was regarded by members of the Dalit (lowest) caste as one of their own.
Other events this month include Black Girl Magic: Philadelphia, set to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 24, and Making Our Voices Heard: Students of Color in Academia, which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 25. The former is a drag show showcasing Black excellence and celebrating Black History Month, sponsored by the MarcDavid LGBTQ Center, and the latter will give students of color the chance to speak on their experiences, and express challenges that affect their level of success.
Events that are taking place throughout the entire month include a virtual reading room, Food for the Soul - Spotlight on African Businesses in Philadelphia, and virtual tours of Africa.
View the complete list of Black History Month Events taking place at the College.