February is Black History Month. Cabrini does not only celebrate the history of African Americans, but it celebrates the history of many races.
According to Shirley Dixon, director of diversity initiatives, Black History Month began because black society wanted to make sure that the history of black America was being taught and heard.
Black History Month was not always a month long; it started out as a week. In 1926, its first year, it was called Negro History Week. There is a lot of speculation about Black History Month being in February because it is the shortest month of the year. Some people feel that it should be during a different month. However, it is celebrated in February because of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and W.E.B. Dubois.
Cabrini is not really involved in Black History Month, due to the fact that there are so few people of color at the college. Instead, Cabrini hosts a week of activities called Cultural Kaleidoscope Week.
From Feb. 11 to the 18, students embraced a number of different cultures. This year Dixon was not as involved in planning the week because she had the help of many student-run groups such as the residential advisers, the International Club, Latinos and Friends and the Ethnic Student Alliance. The activities included everything from a dinner to a poetry reading.
Nelsi Vasquez and Nicole Faison hosted a cultural dinner that served mainly southern and Latin foods. They also played ethnic music to add to the atmosphere. Overall Vasquez felt that the event was a success. Over 20 people participated. During the dinner the main discussion surrounded the issue of becoming a more culturally diverse campus.
Dixon said, “My personal vision, for Cabrini, is that we do not need a day, a week or a month to celebrate anyone. We should not be waiting until February to celebrate Black History Month. It needs to be celebrated all of the time.”
Dixon feels that it is necessary to have Cultural Kaleidoscope week because there are more minorities than African Americans. She believes that Cabrini needs to recognize them all. She feels that it is a time for people to learn about someone other than themselves.
Dixon’s hope for the future is to not have a need for Black History Month. She wants people to be educated about the people who make this country what it is all of the time. “We like to say that we are color blind, but we are not. What is the first thing that you notice about someone? It is their color,” Dixon said.
For now, she is happy that there is an awakening and a learning of the history of black Americans.