By Carina Hennessy, Contributing Writer
The Black History 4 Seasons Council has planned a stocked lineup to celebrate Black History month this February. Seats have already been completely reserved for the 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast on February 3rd from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., featuring keynote speaker Donovan Livingston, but plenty more events are still open to attend.
Students and staff affiliated with the council’s events encourage community members of all colors and creeds to participate. As third-year student Isaiah Bruce says, “it’s meant for raising awareness and bringing people together.”
On Saturday February 4, the Share a Dream event will have its 49th Anniversary at White’s of Westport. Share a Dream is an annual celebration in honor of the successes of students in the College Now program.
To recognize National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Frederick Douglass Unity House will host confidential walk-in HIV testing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7th. The event is being sponsored by the LiveWell Office of Health Education, Promotion & Wellness.
The Black History 4 Seasons council has also collaborated with the New Bedford Historical Society to have a presentation and discussion called “Our History: New Bedford and the Underground Railroad”, whose history includes the slavery refugee and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, the very namesake of UMass Dartmouth’s Unity House. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the New Bedford Public Library on Thursday, February 9th.
The events in the latter part of the month will be largely literature-based. Another New Bedford Historical Society-sponsored event, the 17th Annual Frederick Douglass Read-a-thon, will take place starting February 12th and ending February 17th, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church in New Bedford. The event will include the reading of excerpts from “Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave”.
The 28th Annual African-American Read-In is also a long-term event, taking place between February 16th and 18th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone can register to share works from African-American creators including musical pieces, poems, short stories, and other forms of literature. Registration forms for read-in performers are available in the Frederick Douglass Unity House as well as in the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement.
True to the spirit of celebrating Black History every month and season of the year, the festivities extend into March, starting with the Climbing PoeTree event on March 1st. A workshop for the creative poetry event will begin at noon, with a performance at 7 p.m.
Finally, the university will host a Teach-In event on March 1st and March 2nd from 1 p.m. into the evening on each day. The teach in is “a campus-wide initiative to deepen our understanding of diversity, social justice, civic engagement, and civil communication.” Speakers for the sessions will be announced this month.
Events are free for students, but Bruce adds that “we’re accepting donations of goods, like clothing, school supplies, and non-perishable food items” at the door of most events. Students and community members are also encouraged to keep up with the Black History 4 Seasons conversation on social media using the hashtag #BH4Seasons.