Photo courtesy of Sarah Buschlen
As February is arriving, The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) is getting ready for Black History Month. They are scheduling events all throughout the month for Tarleton State University students. They kick off the month with a lunch on Friday, Feb. 1, in the Texan Village clubhouse at noon. They will be doing a presentation about the different events going on during the month.
ODI will be hosting a total of five events during February, one is the kickoff event, the other four events are spread out over the month. On Wednesday, Feb. 6, ODI will be hosting a diversity dialogue that is going to dive deep into the history and usage of the “N” word. The next day ODI will have the ladies of Bold will lead the “I Am NOT My Hair” workshop and talk about aspects of hair care and the lack of the accessibility to hair care here in Stephenville, Texas. Monday, Feb. 18, ODI will be having a “For the Culture Game Night” where they are trying to create an environment where it is a more relaxed approach for those black students on campus. The last event ODI has planned is “Curating the Soundtrack of America” is on Wednesday, Feb. 20. A student from MENtal freedom will be talking about the contributions black and african americans musicians made to the music industry in America.
Coordinator of Diversity & Inclusion Tiburcio Lince, who has worked with ODI since 2015, is ready to celebrate Black History Month. In the past years ODI, has done step show competitions with other universities, poetry slams, soul food sampling and public speakers who dig deep into the current topics affecting the black community in the United States.
“It is important to celebrate Black History Month because Tarleton State University is a protonate white institution and that there is lack of representation of African American students,” said Lince. “There is no representation in the staff and faculty members, the student body leadership and even in their peers. To me I think it is really important to celebrate. Because that would help us create a sense of belonging for those students who don’t feel that they may not be represented on campus.”
It is also important because historically as a nation we haven’t really acknowledged the things that have been happening in this community.
“Some of these events will shed some light on that,” Lince. “It is important to not only the student feel reflected or feel that they matter on this campus but also for everybody else to understand the struggles that they have gone through.”
These events in February are not only for the black, African American students of Tarleton but for all the Tarleton students. Lince wants to challenge the students to get rid of the mind set of “that’s not for us” and discarding the events, he wants the students to go to the events and experience the moments. “Come and join with good faith that you will learn something, that you will enjoy the experience and that you will develop a connection with someone that you might not have exposed to prior to,” Lince said.