Since Carter G. Woodson developed Negro History Week in 1926 to recognize the experiences and contributions of Black Americans and since being officially recognized by the federal government as a national celebration in 1976, Black History Month takes on new significance in 2021.
While many Americans have studied and promoted attention about African Americans prior to and during these dates, the consideration this year is acute. In 2021, the fault lines of social justice must be owned and addressed to eliminate the health, economic, legal, and educational gaps that visibly reduce full participation of African Americans in contemporary society.
This year’s theme, The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity, was set by the organization founded by Carter G. Woodson in 1915 – the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The theme invites each member of the UCI community to reflect about how this foundation of the Black experience represents a broad range of characteristics and impacts in the modern day.
I encourage members of the UCI community to join modules offered as part of the Inclusive Excellence Certificate Program focused on Anti-Blackness in the United States: Structures and Mechanisms of De-Valuing Black People (February 9-March 9) and Change the Culture through Personal, Professional and Institutional Accountability (February 10-March 10) to explore the Black experience this month.
Register at: https://inclusion.uci.edu/inclusive-excellence-certificate-program/modules/module-1-anti-blackness-in-the-united-states-black-protest-tradition/.
Additionally, please participate in celebrations of Black History Month across the campus from the offerings below.
February 3, 2-3 p.m. – “Deux Femmes on the Edge of the Revolution: A Discussion with France-Luce Benson.” This virtual program features Haitian-American playwright France-Luce Benson in discussion of her recent play about the role of women in the Haitian Revolution, “Deux Femmes on the Edge of the Revolution.” Sponsored by the International Center for Writing and Translation. RSVP and details at: https://uci.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIpf-ugrz8tH9EXHv5f6YP9TnPj9gruOOLB.
February 3, 5-6 p.m. – Illuminations “Acclaimed Memoirist and Theorist Frank B. Wilderson III in Conversation with Jocelyn Burrell.” Frank B. Wilderson III is Chancellor’s Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies as well as author of “Afropessimism,” long-listed for the National Book Award. He joins Ph.D. student Jocelyn Burrell in a virtual conversation. RSVP and details at: https://uci.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Te7HklhrSkaV8mLw4zdngQ.
February 3-7, times vary – free virtual performances of “Detroit ’67”. The Claire Trevor School of the Arts presents performances of the play written by Dominique Morisseau, directed by Margaret Kemp and stage managed by Bri Westad. RSVP and performance dates and times at: https://ev11.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetEventList?groupCode=DET&linkID=uci&shopperContext=&caller=&appCode=&RSRC=ArtsWeb&RDAT=DETrsvp.
February 4, 3:15-4:30 p.m. – “A Study in Blackness and Black Identity,” a virtual discussion presented by Cherise Smith. Cherise Smith, professor African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas-Austin discusses the art of Michael Ray Charles, an artist of prominence in the 1990s. Part of “The Black Index”, curated arts and events by UCI Associate Professor Bridget R. Cooks. RSVP at: https://uag.arts.uci.edu/exhibit/black-index.
February 4-18, various dates and times – #Black Lives Matter Series. The series developed by the Cross-Cultural Center began on January 28. Free and open to all UCI community members and individuals attending three or more of the workshops will have a chance to win a RocketBook Notebook. Zoom meeting ID is: 971-7070-7374.
The series includes February virtual meetings at 1 p.m. Pacific.
- “Addressing Anti-Blackness at UCI” on February 4
- “Black-Coded Cartoon Characters” on February 11
- “The Power of Belonging” on February 18
Fridays, February 5-26, 1-2 p.m. – Virtual presentations hosted by the Black Faculty Staff Association. Zoom links for specific events may be found at: https://sites.uci.edu/bfsa/upcoming-events/.
- Featuring President Thomas Parham, California State University-Dominguez Hills, on February 5.
- Featuring Chancellor’s Professor Michele Goodwin, School of Law and Center for Biotechnology & Global Health Policy, on February 12
- Featuring Assistant Professor Zachary Price, Department of Drama, on February 19
- Featuring Associate Professor Bridget R. Cooks, Department of African American Studies and Art History, on February 26
February 10, 12-1 p.m. – “The Revolution Will Not Be Theorized” with presenter Errol Henderson. A virtual presentation by Errol Henderson, associate professor of international relations at the Pennsylvania State University. Part of a co-sponsored series by the UC Santa Barbara Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the following UCI units: Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences, The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, School of Humanities, Office of Inclusive Excellence, School of Physical Sciences and School of Social Sciences. RSVP to Frances Hom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 11, 12-1 p.m. – UCI Great Big Read Book Club discussion on “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. Featuring Jessica Millward, associate professor of history, and Marguerite Bonous-Hammarth, assistant vice chancellor, UCI Office of Inclusive Excellence. The UCI Great Big Read is a partnership of the Office of Inclusive Excellence, UCI Libraries, and the Division of Student Affairs to promote community and solidarity during the current pandemic when we are asked to practice physical distancing. RSVP and details at: https://inclusion.uci.edu/uci-great-big-read/.
February 17, 12-1 p.m. – UCI Great Big Read – DYI Zine Making on “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. Learn zine making and have informal discussions about autobiography facilitated by Kelsey Brown, UCI Libraries, as part of the UCI Great Big Read. The UCI Great Big Read is a partnership of the Office of Inclusive Excellence, UCI Libraries, and the Division of Student Affairs to promote community and solidarity during the current pandemic when we are asked to practice physical distancing. RSVP and details at: https://inclusion.uci.edu/uci-great-big-read/.
February 18, 3:15-4:30 p.m. – “Analogous” A virtual discussion between Alicia Henry, professor of Art at Fisk University, and UCI’s Bridget R. Cooks, associate professor of African American studies and art history, and curator for “The Black Index” exhibitions. RSVP and details at: https://uag.arts.uci.edu/exhibit/black-index.
February 19, 12-1 p.m. – “The Black Index: Archiving Black Creativity and Resistance” A virtual discussion about the roles of libraries and archives in indexing Black creative thought and experiences presented by Simone Fujita, art librarian, archivist, and bibliographer of African American art at the Getty Research Institute, and Krystal Tribbett, curator for Orange County Regional History at UCI Libraries. RSVP and details at: https://uag.arts.uci.edu/exhibit/black-index.
February 25, 10-11:30 a.m. – “We Take Care of Our Own: A Discussion with Zainabu Jallo” A virtual discussion with playwright Zainabu Jallo about her recent work, “We Take Care of Our Own”, an exploration of the lives and memories of three immigrants living in a European assisted living community. RSVP and details at: https://www.humanities.uci.edu/icwt/.
Take the Pledge
Douglas M. Haynes, Ph.D. (Pronouns: he/him/his)
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer
Director, ADVANCE Program
Professor of History