By Jonah Grinkewitz
Throughout February, Old Dominion University will mark Black History Month with events celebrating and reflecting on African American culture and heritage.
Programming will explore topics related to the Black experience, including mental health, community activism, empowerment, Greek life, expression and more. Themes will be explored through panel and open discussions, live performances and film screenings.
The month will kick off with “Curators for Change,” a panel discussion on African American culture in sports, from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 1 at Chartway Arena. Sponsored by ODU Athletics and the Office of Intercultural Relations (OIR), the panel will include Hampton Roads community leaders. RSVP here.
On Feb. 16, the Barry Art Museum at ODU will host “Coffee & Contemporary Art” from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the museum’s lobby. Brittney Harris, assistant professor of theatre at ODU, will perform her one-woman play, “The Intersection: The Sandra Bland Project.” ODU Rep Theatre students will then perform snippets of the originally devised play “Tag! You’re It!” which explores issues related to individualism, freedom and resistance through the Boalian technique of “image theater.” Light refreshments will be served. Reserve your spot here.
ODU will also hold its 38th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Observance at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Big Blue Room at Chartway Arena. The event will feature a community dialogue facilitated by Antipas Harris, founder, president and dean of the Urban Renewal Center in Norfolk. Harris, who is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and religious studies at ODU, is an ordained minister, theological educator and musician. He has ministered in churches around the world for 30 years and is a renowned speaker on topics related to leadership, community engagement and social justice. The University will also present the Hugo Owens Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award to Cecelia Taliaferro Tucker, Assistant to the President Emerita for Community Relations. RSVP to the event at this link.
The month’s events will culminate with “Misogynoir: Intersections of Black Womanhood,” a talk on the impact of misogynoir – the unique misogyny and oppression Black women experience due to race and gender. Co-hosted by the Women & Gender Equity Center and OIR, the free event will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Hampton/Newport News Room in Webb Center.
Other events marking Black History Month include:
- Blue Table Talk, 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Black Excellence Room in the Mane Hub: A guided discussion that provides a safe space for people to share and learn about issues relevant to the Black community. Sponsored by the Black Leadership Advisory Board and OIR. RSVP here.
- Queen BEE (Black Encouragement & Excellence), 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 3 in the Student Recreation Center: Pairing Black history with women in sports day, Queen BEE offers a series of express (4- to 30-minute) group fitness classes. RSVP here.
- Ebony Impact Black History Month Showcase, 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 3 in the North Cafeteria in Webb Center: This showcase shines a light on Black organizations on campus and will allow them to not only display their talents, but also discuss the origin of their organizations for the rest of the ODU community. RSVP here.
- Black Alumni Council Film Discussion, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3, virtual: “The 1619 Project” –Grab your popcorn and favorite drink and join BAC for a virtual movie night as we stream episode one of “The 1619 Project” docuseries to kick off Black History Month. You must have a Hulu account to stream the film with us on the Scener platform. Additional instructions for streaming will be included in your confirmation email upon registration. Register online by 5 p.m. Feb. 3.
- National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 7 in the front lobby of Webb Center: Feb. 7 is National HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), which was first observed in 1999. This observance is a day to acknowledge how HIV disproportionately affects Black people. ODU will provide a day of FREE testing services. Black communities have made great progress in reducing HIV. Yet racism, discrimination and mistrust in the health care system may affect whether Black people seek or receive HIV prevention services. Sponsored by the Women & Gender Equity Center.
- Go Natural Day, noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Webb Center lobby: A national day of celebration of “going natural,” or rejecting/divesting from harmful beauty norms. This event will be one of four photo opportunities for the Crown Act Exhibit, a gallery featuring students, faculty and staff submissions opening in March for Women’s History Month and celebrating Black hair while highlighting the history and politicization of Black hair in the United States. Sponsored by Women & Gender Equity Center.
- Black Feminists Taught Me, 5 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Potomac/York Room in Webb Center: An interactive workshop highlighting Black feminist scholars, their seminal theoretic contributions to society, and how their work continues to inspire movement building toward culture change and collective liberation. Sponsored by Women & Gender Equity Center.
- CommUnity Conversations, 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Big Blue Room at Chartway Arena: The last three years have been overwhelming for many, especially Black students having to navigate the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic amid social and political unrest, all while dealing with the microaggressions of everyday life. This student-focused program will highlight strategies for managing mental well-being, including ways to set healthy boundaries, understanding your baseline (triggers/traumas) and the impact of social media. RSVP here.
- Shifting from Code-Switching, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Executive Dining Room in Webb Center: The ODU community will share ways to normalize and embrace Black language. RSVP here.
- U-Nite: Resistance and Reflection, 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Barry Art Museum: Join the Barry Art Museum for U-Nite: Resistance & Reflection, an evening in celebration of Black History Month. Enjoy refreshments, music and art by African American makers in the ODU campus community as we reflect upon the stories of Black artists in the Barry Art Museum permanent collection. RSVP here.
- Sickle Cell Blood Drive, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 10 on Kaufman Mall: Sponsored by Student Health Services and OIR.
- Empowering Black Females: Building and Sustaining Bridges for Future Success, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Hampton/Newport News Room: This program is designed to provide Black female students and allies with an opportunity to see and hear examples of success, leadership, achievement and sisterhood from highly successful women and trailblazing "sheroes" who mirror their image. Sponsored by the ODU National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, the Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, OIR and the ODU Black Alumni Chapter. Zoom link.
- Disability CRT and the Black Experience, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Potomac/York Room in Webb Center: A discussion about the seven tenets of DisCrit and themes associated with Black and brown students. Sponsored by ODU Office of Accessibility and OIR. RSVP here.
- Why Do We Step and Stroll? 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Executive Dining Room in Webb Center: The National Panhellenic Council will give historical and cultural background on stepping and strolling in Black Greek organizations. RSVP here.
- Resistance Is Black Success, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16 in the Virginia Rice Room in Webb Center: This program aims to make the point to the Black community that one of the best ways to resist is to become/be successful. Success doesn't look the same for everyone, and it isn't defined the same by everyone. Black Success is both resistance and rebellion. Sponsored by Don’t Shoot My Dad. RSVP here.
- Black Entrepreneurship Conference, 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 18 in the River Rooms/SGA Chambers: A conference for Black students to learn skills from Black entrepreneurs and gain knowledge about how to start businesses in the Black community.
- Documentary Screening: “Birth of a Planet,” 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 in the James/Lynn/York Room in Webb Center: Documentary exploring Black representation in media. Sponsored by TILT and OIR. Watch the trailer here.
- IntersectionaliTEA: A Panel Discussion on Blackness and Queerness, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Executive Dining Room in Webb Center: In honor of Black History Month, this event will be a panel discussion featuring community leaders and campus partners, focused on unpacking the intersection of Blackness and queerness and how individuals who hold both identities navigate queer and Black spaces. Sponsored by Women & Gender Equity Center. RSVP here.
- Black Faculty: Are Y’all Alright? 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Potomac York Room in Webb Center: An open discussion with Black faculty concerning issues that are affecting them. Relaxation and mindfulness techniques and stress relief will be addressed.
- Black Excellence Gala, 7 to 10 p.m. Feb. 24 in the North Cafeteria in Webb Center: A night to celebrate the culture and talent of ODU students in the arts. Come and enjoy a night of performances by The VA Symphony fellows, Ebony Impact Gospel Choir, ODU Chorale, ODU Blue Diamonds, ODU Majorettes, a student-designed fashion show and much more. Put on your best outfit and come out to the First Black Excellence Gala. Sponsored by OIR. RSVP here.
- Political & Community Activism, 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Chesapeake Room in Webb Center: A panel discussion on political and community-based activism, facilitated by the Black Alumni Chapter. RSVP here.