“God loves us and made us in His image and that is how we should view ourselves and everyone we encounter. The creation story in Genesis 1 teaches us the notion of respect, and just as God loves us, we need to reciprocate that love and utmost respect to all people.”
On Thursday, Feb. 1, Fortune Mhlanga, dean of the College of the Computing & Technology, shared these words with more than 100 students at the Multicultural Awareness, Skills and Knowledge (M.A.S.K.) chapel in Shamblin Theatre. The chapel was the first of several university events this month to celebrate February’s Black History Month, a tradition adopted by the U.S. in 1926 to honor the important contributions and achievements made by African Americans throughout our nation’s history.
“Celebrating Black History Month is significant because black history is American history, so its important for everyone to know about it," said junior accounting major Ana Caravez.
Presented by Lipscomb’s Office of Intercultural Development, in conjunction with the Black Student Union and Intercultural Honor Society, each event this February aligns with Lipscomb’s efforts to promote respect and further embrace diversity on- and off-campus, said Josh Roberts, dean of student development.
"We celebrate Black History Month to ignite a passion within everyone in the Lipscomb community about unity, the beauty and distinctiveness of different cultures, and the way that our God created and embraces diversity," said Roberts. "We hope the Lipscomb community will join us for these fun and relevant events."
On Tuesday, Feb. 6, Lipscomb students can tour Fisk University and the Van Vechten Art Gallery to visit the historical chapel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stood and to learn about the civil rights movement in Nashville. Registration for this event ends Monday, Feb. 5, so reserve your spot here.
On Thursday, Feb. 8, Prentice Ashford, Lipscomb’s new dean of intercultural development, will share his vision for his new role at Lipscomb as well as the story of how God brought him to Lipscomb at MASK Chapel.
“MASK Chapel is significant because it’s a space where students feel comfortable coming and engaging in difficult conversations that are important to have. We want everyone to see that God’s Kingdom is diverse and it’s citizens don’t all look or think the same way, so it is a platform to do that here,” said junior psychology major Jackie Herrera, who is also the student coordinator for Lipscomb’s MASK chapels.
On Thursday, Feb. 15, Reggie Blair, director of admissions, will speak about the Collegiate 100, an organization focused on the development of African American males and community outreach.
That same night, the Black Student Union will also host a Cultural Convo (Hair Event) on Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. in Swang 234.
The Black Student Union will also host a Day of Prayer that will begin Feb. 19 at 7 a.m. and end on Feb. 20 at 7 a.m. in Bennett 181.
On Thursday, Feb. 22, Lipscomb student Jorge Valdespino will speak in MASK chapel about his life as an Afro-Latino and his experiences growing up with Cuban parents who had to flee Cuba during the civil war.
Co-sponsored by Lipscomb’s Black Student Union, Lipscomb students will have the opportunity to attend any Black History Month event and win free tickets to the Phill Wade & Friends Comedy Show featuring Blame the Comic, Kevonstage, Phill Wade, The Christi Show and Eula “EJ” Moore on Saturday, Feb. 24 in Collins Alumni Auditorium. Tickets to the show are $30 in advance, $40 at the door, $60 for the VIP and $10 for Lipscomb students. Contact Deranique Jones to purchase a student ticket at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the Black Student Union and International Honor Society will host an on-campus movie night featuring the film “Hidden Figures,” at 6 p.m. in Stowe Hall, which is located in Swang 108. The event will also feature free pizza for students at 5:30 p.m.
Deranique Jones, a freshman biology major, is the President of the Black Student Union and says African Americans have made incredible contributions to our country and that are not necessarily recognized in today’s history. So it is important to educate our nation throughout this month each year.
“There is a rich culture and history within the black community and when we fail to recognize it, we lose a portion of what makes our nation what it is. In celebrating this month as a campus we have an opportunity for students of all races to engage in black culture in efforts to better understand all students on campus,” said Jones.
“As a nation, it is vital that we highlight the achievements of black individuals because we often focus on the suffering of the black community, but through the success of those who came before us, we can acknowledge their excellence in spite of the challenges they faced. Our country was built on the backs of my ancestors. As a nation, we need to live into our racial history in order to create a new narrative.”
The Office of Intercultural Development seeks to serve minority students through active mentoring, relationship building and fostering positive coping skills while providing a safe haven of belonging for students. The office also promotes an inclusive environment for students by striving to ensure the participation of Lipscomb's under-represented students in university life. Want to learn more? Visit: https://www.lipscomb.edu/intercultural.