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The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Black History Month programming on campus centers Black wellness, community

Illustration by Shveta Shah
To kick off Black History Month, the Black Poetry Society and Prof. Ava Thompson Greenwell will host a poetry workshop on Feb. 1.

As Black History Month kicks into gear, campus groups are prioritizing Black wellness and community in several events planned for February.

To kick things off, the Black Poetry Society has partnered with Medill Prof. Ava Thompson Greenwell to host a poetry workshop on Feb. 1. Greenwell, the South Area Faculty-in-Residence, will host the workshop in her Shepard Hall faculty apartment at 6 p.m. 

The workshop will provide the space for students to be creative through poetry no matter their experience level, Greenwell said. 

“My goal is to help students just be a little more zen,” she said. “Relax a little bit, take a little time for yourself.”

On Feb. 29, the Black Poetry Society will hold an open mic poetry slam as an extension of Greenwell’s workshop, according to Medill sophomore Atarah Israel, the organization’s external relations chair and secretary.

In addition, the Black Health & Wellness Collaborative is planning a generational trauma panel in collaboration with the Black Studies department this month, junior Asiah Florczak, the club’s co-founder and co-president, said. 

Florczak said the club creates a “safe space” for Black students looking to discuss mental and emotional health. She hopes this event will inspire a “healing effect” for attendees. 

“It is important every day — not just Black History Month, but all months, all days — to prioritize your well-being and your mental health,” Florczak said. “You need to listen to your own body and to your mind and do what’s best for you.”

BlackBoard Magazine has initiatives planned for this month that will honor Black legacies and culture, said Medill sophomore Devin Wilkes, BlackBoard’s online editor-in-chief. 

BlackBoard will release short-form social media content throughout February on topics ranging from Black cuisine to natural hair, Wilkes said.

Weinberg sophomore Hannah Ajogbeje, who is on BlackBoard’s social media marketing team, said the magazine also plans to highlight Black alumni and faculty and cover the history of the Black House.

Wilkes said BlackBoard’s emphasis on Black history and culture is constant. 

“Black History Month is still a big deal,” Wilkes said. “But I also think it’s important to continue that throughout the year.” 

School of Communication sophomore Hannah Callentine, the president of the Black Pre-Law Association, echoed Wilkes’ sentiments. She said BPLA has plans to amplify Black voices in law in February and beyond. 

Callentine said a future trip to the Pritzker School of Law is in the works. BPLA has a mentorship program with the law school’s Black student union, Callentine said, and she hopes the visit will be an opportunity for community-building within the broader Black law space at Northwestern. 

Also this month, the Black Student Alliance For Members Only will hold a Black Movie Marathon event in the Black House on Feb. 2. The Black Studies department will also hold several events, including a lecture on Black History from author Kris Manjapra on Feb. 29.

“Acknowledging Black history also needs to be intertwined with acknowledging our community as well,” Callentine said. “Because while acknowledging Black history, we are also Black history, so we need to set a good precedent.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Hannah Ajogbeje’s school. She is in Weinberg, not Medill. The Daily regrets the error.

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