February 1 marked the beginning of the nationwide celebration, Black History Month. This year, in addition to celebrating past accomplishments in black history, Bastyr student groups “The Collective,” in conjunction with the Bastyr Student Union, wish to pull the focus to both the present and the future.
The Bastyr community joined together in reflective silence as students shared the Maya Angelou poem “Still I Rise,” along with other poetry written by students themselves. Bastyr student Cecilia Gilmore, ND Post-Bacc candidate (‘18), recited her poem accentuating the theme of looking to the past, present and future, “See us. Listen to us. Remember us.”
After a short procession to raise the Pan-African flag, student Zamir Brown, MPH candidate (’19) shared some powerful words:
“Don’t let this month be another month where you acknowledge the past accomplishments of black people, while conveniently ignoring the systems that continue to contribute to our oppression. Don’t let this be another year where you tiptoe around the subject of racism and try to show us you’re a good person by… how many books or articles you’ve read, or how many movies you’ve seen. That’s not what we need.
“The answer to the question I am so often asked, ‘How can I help?’ is to get uncomfortable. Being a part of the solution requires that those with privilege make a conscious choice to lean into discomfort. Bastyr’s mission is to transform the health of the human community…This mission puts us in a special position to affect the lives of not only black people, but an entire community of minoritized individuals, and the greater human community…We are not here celebrating black history exclusively, we are here to celebrate black accomplishment, black resilience, black perseverance and black pride! I tell my brothers and sisters: Do not be ashamed, for we are great.”
Other student groups are celebrating Black History Month, including Bastyr Student Council. Stop by their display table to learn more about distinguished and historical icons within the black community.
Please join us each Wednesday this month as we host the below Ted talks from 12-1 each week:
For more information, email Zamir at Zamir.Brown@bastyr.edu.