Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement (MSCLE) will celebrate Black History Month in February with a number of events.

Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the community.

Focus on Health

A focus for this year’s Black History Month programming is on health. Three programs on this topic are planned:

We Gon’ Be Alright

  • Feb. 7, 6:00–8:00 p.m., 114 Jane Leonard Hall

  • The presenter is Marcellus Taylor, director of Health Equity Partnership for Better Health.

    The program is designed to be a “transformative learning experience,” centered on the critical elements of collaboration, truth, health equity, and hope. Taylor, a health equity practitioner, will serve as the lead facilitator for the event, designed to offer participants the opportunity to explore the historical impact of health inequities for African Americans and reimagine what health equity could look like in their localized context.

Advocate for your ‘Black Health’

  • Feb. 16, 6:00–7:30 p.m., Elkin Hall Great Room

  • Henry Lewis, owner and clinical nutrition consultant at Lewis Wellness Solutions, LLC., a graduate of IUP’s Master of Arts in Student Affairs in Higher Education program, will present the program.

    Participants will learn about key disease risk factors (poor sleep habits, lack of physical activity, stress, diet, alcohol, and avoiding the doctor) that lead to poor health and disease in the Black community and what they can do now, as college students, as preventative measures. Participants will also learn about Lewis’ personal health journey and what he did to advocate for and improve his health.

Black Mental Health Matters

  • Feb. 27, 6:00–7:30 p.m., Elkin Hall Great Room
  • This workshop addresses information about a growing body of research that shows that racism has had a profound and negative impact on Black communities resulting in racial trauma and poor health outcomes.
    It is designed to increase mental health awareness, knowledge, and skills to eliminate the stigma of acknowledging mental illness and seeking help and to increase mental health advocacy in higher education settings. Black mental health will be expressed through a historical and cultural lens. Additionally, participants will learn about a variety of topics including multiculturalism, intersectionality, social justice, microaggressions, and coping mechanisms.

Lunch and Learn

The Lunch and Learn series, held from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Elkin Hall Great Room, will have three programs during the month:

Amazing Black Women Leaders Whose Stories You Might Not Know

  • Feb. 1

  • Marveta Ryan-Sams, associate professor of Spanish and coordinator of Pan-African Studies, will present information that spans centuries and continents, highlighting several women of African descent whose monumental accomplishments deserve recognition.

The ‘I Fear for My Life’ Project: Research for Social Change

  • Feb. 8

  • Presented by Veronica Watson, professor of English and director of Graduate Studies in Literature and Criticism. Watson’s I Fear for My Life website is designed to promote learning, dialogue, and action to improve policing and criminal justice outcomes, especially for communities of color in the United States. Watson will explain ways that students, faculty, and organizations can use the site for civic engagement on this issue during the presentation.

Smoke and Mirrors: The American Dream Out of Reach for People of Color

  • Feb. 22

  • Hilario Molina, associate professor of Sociology, will examine how people of color are more prone to environmental discrimination and health issues because they are pushed into geographic areas that are deemed undesirable by the dominant group. Furthermore, he will discuss the changes associated with owning versus renting a property.

IUP Celebrating Black Excellence

The IUP Celebrating Black Excellence Series, held at 6:00 p.m. in the Elkin Hall Great Room, will continue in February with two programs:

The Power of Education for African Americans at a Predominately White Institution (PWI)

  • Feb. 2

  • A panel of IUP faculty, staff, and students will talk about racism in higher education and how it has affected the past, how it affects current students, and what the future could hold for students to come. They also will discuss how today’s students can be the drivers of change in not only their campus communities but their greater communities back home.

  • The panelists are Watson; Shawn Jones, associate director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions; and Abreeya Darda, graduate assistant for MCSLE, focusing on fraternity and sorority life.

Fraternity-Sorority Life, The History of Stepping and Historically Black Greek Lettered Organizations

  • Feb. 23

  • This program will discuss the importance and history of stepping, as well as the historically black Greek lettered organizations. It will address questions on the when and why these organizations were founded and the significance of stepping and step shows.

Queer Conversations

The Queer Conversations Series, held from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Elkin Hall Great Room, continues on February 7 with “Black Queer History and Figures.”