OIE Celebrates Black Leaders for Black History Month

Published: Last Updated on

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford formally recognized Black History Month after “Negro History Week” was celebrated throughout the late 1960’s, according to NPR. President Ford implemented the holiday to, “Seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area or endeavor throughout our history,” according to NPR. 

The University of Indianapolis is celebrating Black History Month this year by showcasing young Black leaders in the community by hosting multiple different events across campus, according to Assistant Director of the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Title IX Coordinator Cari Freed. According to their website, the OIE governs the university’s commitment to inclusive excellence by building upon a comprehensive strategy to ensure equal access to educational quality, benefits & resources, workforce development & leadership opportunities, intellectual & social development, and a welcoming environment for all members of the campus community.

“We have the Black Business Bazaar that’s going to be put on by the Black Student Association, and what’s really special about that is that it actually hosts vendors that are current students at UIndy,” Freed said. “It’s an opportunity for you not to just celebrate all Black people from our past, but to also encourage and develop the Black people of today and to encourage and develop the Black community that we have here at UIndy.”

Freed said UIndy also plans to have other events to celebrate leaders on campus and throughout the greater Indianapolis community. Events include a barber shop talk, a poetry slam and other activities, according to Freed.

“We have a barbershop talk so young men can come and get their hair cut and listen to other inspirational black men who have done great things and persevered through challenging times,” Freed said. “We have the Mad Love Poetry Slam, which is an emphasis on self-expression and the power of self-expression to help your mental health. Then we also have our Black Excellence Dinner, but that’s always one of my favorite events of the year because it’s an opportunity for us to come together, get a little dressed up, have a nice meal and then really talk to leaders and community members of our campus. This year, our theme is ‘For the Culture.’”

Advisor of the BSA and Student Experience Designer in OIE Selena Jackson-King, says the registered student organization will be holding activities throughout the year to showcase Black history and excellence. OIE also wants to celebrate Black History Month in the future by celebrating our present and future leaders, according to Jackson-King.

“We always like to uplift Black voices,” Jackson-King said. “We just had our [Ripple] gallery opening and one of our students, Samir, they were the photographer for one of our exhibit pieces and they’re also in BSA. So, this will be up all year round. We’re just highlighting Blackness that way just by simply being apart and being included.”

OIE plans on also celebrating Black history throughout the year with a podcast series titled ‘Talk Tuesdays.’ Every Tuesday at 3 p.m., OIE will be discussing different current events and topics regarding black history and different issues around the world.

“We’re starting like a podcast called ‘Talk Tuesdays.’ Come in on Tuesday afternoons, I think around 3 p.m., and you guys could come in and sit and listen to Cari and I and also special guests talk about whatever issues that are going on campus and in the world around us.” 

OIE’s office is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and hosts many activities throughout the year for students to engage with one another, according to Jackson-King. She said OIE is the representative for all minority groups on campus and actively seek student involvement. 

“Just come and check out OIE,” Jackson-King said. “One of the things I think people miss out on is that this is a collective space so they could come in and hang out with us or come in in the morning and do homework. But do visit us, we would love to meet you.”

Recommended for You