The Office of Multicultural Enrichment has partnered with the Black Students’ Association to facilitate a series of four events to celebrate Black History Month in a new way.
OME will conduct a community service project and present the documentary titled There’s a Difference at a Chapel forum. BSA will have a worship service and present a production at the end of the month.
“The focus of Black History Month won’t be as much on historical figures; they’ll be worked in, but that’s not going to be all of our focus,” said Prentice Ashford, director of OME. “It’s not going to be like elementary school where all you learn about is Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and all those influential people. We’re trying to give people a look inside black culture, whether that’s through the play or through the documentary or serving alongside us or engaging in our predominant style of worship.”
The service project will be more of an outreach to Ortiz Elementary School, Ashford said.
Students will meet at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 6 in the Campus Center Living Room to write personal letters to students.
The documentary will be shown at 7 p.m. Feb. 17 in Cullen Auditorium for Chapel credit.
Khamise Green, president of BSA, said he hopes the programs will help create unity on campus.
The first event, a worship service, will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday at Chapel on the Hill. The service will feature a choir and pastors from Odessa.
To end the month of celebration, BSA will perform in Unchained Memories: BSA Black History Production.
“Racial tension is a result of ignorance, and I think that if we educate and show the community what’s really going on and allow them to see in motion how we live as African-Americans, we can grow our community,” said Green, junior music education major from Odessa.
Green wrote and produced the production that will take place at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Paramount Theatre.
“The black history production is less like a play and more like a production,” he said.
Written in the script are historical speeches such as Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. Green said he wrote them in to put the speeches in context of today.
The programs themselves promote the idea he is hoping the audience will grasp.
“We have a very diverse cast and participants,” Green said. “We have white students, black students, mixed students, biracial students; everybody is enjoying themselves and everybody is getting a feel for the culture. There’s no animosity or tension because everybody who is a part of it is already educated on how to function in this context, so we want to share what we’ve learned.”
Ashford and Green said they hope the whole community will participate and that all events are open to anyone.
“Those who are not black will be able to see into the lives – into the culture – of those that are, and those that are black can see further into their culture to see what it is that we can do to modify and to grow,” Green said.
OME also houses Hispanos Unidos and International Students Association.
Ashford said he hopes the programs presented this month will open doors for the ACU community to embrace other cultures as well.
“We’re just setting a foundation for the year to come,” he said. “We want students to be able to engage in conversation with other students and I think it starts here. We’re laying a foundation for each of our groups to be able to showcase their culture.”
Tickets for the black history production are on sale in the Campus Center as well as by BSA member participating in the program. The cost is $5.