By: Darius Hardy
The Shenandoah University Mosaic Center for Diversity hits the ground running as the
newly founded office prepares to celebrate Black History in February. Starting on
February 16, 2018, the Mosaic Center has prepared a line of activities, shows, and more
in order to engage the community and reinforce the importance of Black History Month.
“It kind of shocks me when people say they don’t do anything at their schools for Black
History Month,” said Chynna Beckett, Student Supervisor of the Mosaic Center. “I feel
like it’s necessary for black people and for everyone. It’s important to know how
important our history is when it’s usually kind of shoved aside or people think that our
history is just slavery, when in reality, we go further back than that.”
Last year, SU hosted multiple, well-received events, featuring several Shenandoah
students, in order to engage the community. These events included the previous Black
History Show, featuring wonderful singing and a performance by Shenandoah’s step
team, Hornets on Deck, and the Colored Museum, a play featuring multiple “exhibits” all
revolving around African American culture.
“It was stressful because it was kind of last minute,” said Beckett. “It was also very long
last year, but I think it went very well.”
However, Beckett believes they should aim to do even better this year.
“I’m so excited for these events,” Beckett exclaimed. “I’m really hoping the show goes
Hands Up Pay Attention, directed by Jermaine James, is a black history month show
seeking to engage the community in a new way.
“This year, the Black History month show is exploring the idea that black history doesn’t
solely belong to black people and is not solely incumbent upon black people to educate
about the history of black people,” said James. “I think the way we’re doing that this year
is by displaying the information in a way that everyone can understand the humanity, the struggles, and the plight of black people throughout history.”
James hopes that the show will educate, encourage active conversation, and inspire
people to seek change in their community.
“Hopefully, they will, in turn, see how this affects them,” James continued. “Ultimately,
we hope to encourage less apathy and more action”
Hornets on Deck have also been rumored to be making an appearance within the show.
Hands Up Pay Attention will be held on Friday, February 16, at 6pm in Goodson
Other departments and organizations have also embraced the need to celebrate Black
History Month. The Not Just Women Center and the Harambee Gospel Choir have
partnered together for Harambee Benefit Concert on Feb. 8 th , at 8pm. Half of the night’s
proceeds will be donated to a local community organization that helps individuals
affected by sexual and domestic abuse.
Other Black History Month events include: The Dinner Dialogue, from 6pm to 8pm, at
Sweet Nola’s on February 22 nd , Black Panther at the Alamo on February 23 rd at 6pm, and
Black History Month Service Day on February 24, from 12:30pm to 4pm, in Old Town