Ramapo starts Black History Month celebrations with week of events

With February underway, Black History Month is being celebrated all across campus. Throughout the month, Ramapo will be hosting events from the Black Student Union (BSU), the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Compliance (EDIC), the College Programming Board (CPB), Students of Caribbean Ancestry and many more to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and their central role in U.S. history.

This year’s Black History Month theme is “African American and the Arts,” which explores the visual and performing arts, literature, fashion and other forms of cultural expression all created by African Americans.

To start the month of celebration, EDIC, the Multicultural Center and BSU kicked off its recognition of Black History Month with an opening proclamation ceremony. The program began with a performance by the CantaNOVA and Chorale choirs, singing the “Black National Anthem,” “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Performances were followed by a reading of the opening proclamation by President Cindy Jebb, and then a performance by poet and author Felicia Sherelle. The proclamation wrapped up with announcements of the programs and events scheduled to take place throughout the month.

Following the proclamation, BSU kicked off Black History Month with vision board making. All students were welcome to come relax and create a manifestation of what they planned their new year would look like. With 2000s music playing and gentle warm conversation flowing, students created their personal outlook of the future.

BSU president Kaylon Lindsay originally came up with the idea of the event.

“This event is just to give us an opportunity to bond with anyone who wants to come and spend time with us. We just want to get to know each other and see what everyone’s goals and visions are for the year,” she said.

This is an annual event for BSU and has grown since it was virtual back in 2020. With Black History Month starting off, this event provided students with the opportunity to reflect on the past and showcase those that fought for recognition. The history behind Black History Month is essential to BSU and makes the event that much more special and important for the community here on campus.

One of the students attending the event, junior Myria Bourboulis, said this was her first BSU event ever and that it has encouraged her to go to more events similar to this. 

“This event was very fun. Creating a board to map out my future and create a plan for what I wanted was a great experience,” she said.

BSU holds events all year long, but with Black History Month, they try to engage more with the campus community in order to spread education about the celebration.

“We try to do extra stuff this month considering it is Black History Month but we still try to have educational events that have to do with the African American population overall and educate those who want to know more about what it is to go to school as someone of color,” Lindsay said.

BSU advisor Mya Olive urges other students to join in on the events on campus. 

“I think I just want to be able to see more students, not only Black students to take part in events and want everyone to feel comfortable to just join in,” she said.

In addition to BSU, CPB hosted a Taste of Africa event, a play on the usual Taste of Mahwah. With an array of food from Asante’s Restaurant, students were invited to expand their tastes and step out of their food comfort zone. Food included dirty rice, stews, plantains, African soda and cornbread. African music played in the background inviting students into the cultural experience here at Ramapo.

For more information about Black History Month, check out campus discussions discussing important topics dealing with Black history located on EDIC’s website. Topics range from activism, traditions, webcasts and films that all catered to the talk of the BSU community on campus. Education is at the heart of Black History Month and shines through the voices of those who celebrate this special month.




Featured photo courtesy of Carolyn Herring