Western Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month Events

Black History Month, depicting a row of people standing in profile

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week as an opportunity to commemorate and honor the rich history and achievements of people of African descent in the United States. In 1976, during Bicentennial celebrations, the week became a month, and has been celebrated since across the United States.

Western Washington University is proud to celebrate during February with a calendar of events across the university, organized and sponsored by a variety of organizations, departments, and clubs. 

 Throughout the Month

Moments to Remember

Monday - Friday

10 a.m., KUGS-FM 89.3 and kugs.

“Moments to Remember” with host Henry Louis Gates, Jr.. featuring a radio series celebrating black history.

Black Artist Playlist

In celebration of black voices and creations we have compiled a playlist of songs from black artists from different genres and decades.
It is not only during black history month that we should be paying attention to these artists and their impact, but year round. Many genres that we know and love today like rock n roll, techno, blues, jazz, and hip hop wouldn't have existed as we know them today without their brilliant innovation.

Check out the playlist or visiting KUGS FM on Spotify.

Civic Cipher: The Reality of Black Wealth Inequality / The New Wave of Attacks on Black America

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022
6 p.m.

KUGS-FM 89.3 and kugs.org 

In the first part of today's episode, we discuss Black wealth. There are many ways that income, wealth, and access to capital can shape the outcomes of societies and communities and we pay particular attention to the Black community and the disparities that are present when comparing to White Americans. We spend some time discussing how the myth of trickle-down economics has widened the gap between rich and poor and how Black people are often in the most vulnerable of positions with respect to policies like these.

In the second part of the show, we discuss a new wave of attacks on the plight of Black America. These include legislation that was born out of the response of people filming police encounters, the banning of Critical Race Theory in many states, and companies limiting the free speech of their employees when they choose to support Black lives.

Civic Cipher is a weekly radio show hosted by Ramses Ja and Q. Ward. This show is dedicated to empowering Black and Brown voices, allowing them to engage directly with their communities as well as the general population. Self-determination is critical to securing a future free of oppressive systems, and Civic Cipher exists to facilitate discussions toward this end. Furthermore, Civic Cipher seeks to inform non-POC allies who may not be privy to these types of discussions and optics. Finally, Civic Cipher seeks to provide long-form conversations in spaces where there is often a lack of significant resources, potent dialogue, or the necessary engagement for facilitating a healthy and productive civil discourse.

FB/Instagram/Twitter: @civicciphe

Viking Athletics Celebrates Black History Month

Viking Athletics has gathered stories from their archives and conducted insightful podcast interviews with former and current Black student athletes. Read and listen on the Viking Athletics website.

Black Lives Matter In School, circular image of empowered hands raised in fists, a school building outline and a person in profile.

Black Lives Matter at School Conference

On behalf of the Woodring Equity Diversity Committee, we are excited to share a professional development opportunity for all faculty, staff, students and community partners. On Feb. 2 to 4, we will be hosting a series of events at our Black Lives Matter at School Conference, as part of the national Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action.

All events will take place via Zoom and require pre-registration. Registrations for individual topics are linked below. Questions? Please contact Genevieve Carrillo at carrilg@wwu.edu.

Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022

10 a.m. - noon - How Do We Create and Sustain Ecosystems to Ensure Black Lives Matter at School?

  • Featuring: Dr. Verónica N. Vélez (WWU), Dr. Brandyn-Dior McKinley (Smith College), Jason McGill (Northwest Youth Services), Joy G. Turner (Program Analyst, College & Career Readiness, Seattle Public Schools)

4 - 6 p.m. - Book Q&A Session

  • Based on Dr. Bettina Love's Book - "We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and The Pursuit of Educational Freedom"

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

10:30 a.m. - noon - Energy Pawning: Protecting our Energy in Times of Black Hate and Violence

  • Featuring Rashad Norris, Relevant Engagement Consulting, LLC

1 - 3 p.m. -  Listen Up: An Anti-Racist Orientation

  • Featuring Dr. Danné E. Davis, Montclair State University

4 - 6 p.m. -  Book Q&A Session #2

  • Based on Dr. Love’s Book - "We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and The Pursuit of Educational Freedom"

Friday, Feb 4, 2022

10 - 11 a.m. -  We Gon’ Be Alright, But That Ain’t Alright

  • Keynote presentation featuring Dr. Bettina Love

11 a.m.- noon - WWU Resources Panel Discussion

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. - Student Voices

2 - 3 p.m. - Why We Can't Wait: A Lifetime Commitment to our Black Males

  • Featuring: Dr. Amir Gilmore (Washington State University) and Mike Browne (University of Washington)

3 p.m. - Closing Remarks

“Black Artists and the Fetishization of the 1980s” with guest speaker Eddie Chambers

Black Artists and the Fetishization of the 1980s
Eddie Chambers

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

5:30 p.m.

Watch on Zoom, Passcode: wwu

WWU’s Art and Art History Department is proud to present guest speaker Eddie Chambers, holder of the David Bruton and Junior Centennial Professorship in Art History at The University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of many publications, most recently World is Africa: Writings on Diaspora Art (Bloomsbury, 2021). He also edited the 2019 Routledge Companion to African American Art History and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Art Journal (College Art Association).

This event is free and open to everyone. 

For special accommodations, please contact Monique.Kerman@wwu.edu.
Learn more at cfpa.wwu.edu/arts

Dr. Moiya McTier stands against a brick graffiti covered wall

Building Better Worlds
Dr. Moiya McTier

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

4 – 5:30 p.m. 

Livestream via Zoom (use your username@wwu.edu email to register)

From Avatar The Last Airbender to Steven Universe, our favorite stories are set in fictional worlds, but worldbuilding isn’t just for the screen or page. We can use worldbuilding to dream of and shape a better reality for us. In this interactive workshop, Dr. Moiya McTier will teach you her process for building a fictional world based on facts, and we’ll start to imagine a world built for and by queer people, were we can feel safe and whole. Dr. Moiya McTier’s talk is co-sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Science and Engineering.

Dr. Moiya McTier is an astrophysicist, folklorist, and science communicator based in NYC. She’s written a science fiction novel, given hundreds of talks about science around the world, helped design exhibits for the New York Hall of Science, and is currently working on a popular science book about the history of the Milky Way galaxy for Grand Central Publishing. Moiya’s favorite way to combine her unique set of expertise is to build fictional worlds based on facts and science, which she does through workshops, classes, and her podcast www.exolorepod.com. Learn more about Dr. McTier at moiyamctier.com

More details about this event can be found at lgbtq.wwu.edu/qrseries/

Person with tidy beard and short hair smiling looking a little to the side.

Sekani Solomon

Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

5 p.m.

Open to all at no cost - Virtual Experience - Sign up via Eventbrite.

Western Washington University’s Department of Design is excited to announce a guest presentation with Sekani Solomon, Motion Lead at Cash App. This virtual event is free and open to the public.
Sekani Solomon is an award-winning Creative Director based in New York City. Hailing from the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Sekani got his start at Imaginary Forces after graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He spent two and a half years at IF before entering the world of freelance, where he worked with various studios such as Buck, Method, Psyop MPC and Apple. He eventually found a home at Cash App where he is now a Creative Director and Motion Design Lead. Sekani also enjoys working on personal projects. His films Star Wars: The Last Stand and Hidden have received millions of views online. His diverse skill set in design, animation and compositing allows him to work at any stage of the production pipeline with a high level of proficiency.

Marica Meade wearing a white tank top smiles at the camera

WWU Dance welcomes Marcia Meade, professional ballet dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem

Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022

1 - 2:30 p.m.

Join us on Zoom

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

1 - 2 p.m. Marcia Meade teaches an advanced ballet class
2 - 2:30 p.m. Marcia Meade shares insights into her professional training and performing with Dance Theatre of Harlem, the legacy of Arthur Mitchell, and the importance of representation for BIPOC artists. 

Marcia Meade hails from South Orange, New Jersey. Growing up she trained technically at the Dance Theatre of Harlem where she went on to perform both Classical and Contemporary works. She is currently serving on faculty at Steps Youth Programs teaching Classical Ballet, Hip-Hop and Pilates. An ABT NTC Certified Teacher, Marcia grounds her Classical Ballet teaching style in their method. She partnered with the Global Arts Initiative(GAIN) and the Hudson Guild to bring dance into public schools in New York City. While continuing her education, Marcia received her Mat and Comprehensive Pilates Certification at Power Pilates and later went on to join the Fam at Obe Fitness, a premium digital fitness and lifestyle platform. She works in the commercial field as a Dancer and Model. She Graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is happy to call Brooklyn her home.

Black Love: A revolution of Power

Queer Art Night

Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022

5-7 p.m.

WWU Multicultural Center
Join us to create art celebrating Black queer love! Bring your creativity; we’ll provide crafty materials and food. Together we’ll create art that will be put together to display in the Multicultural Center. You can also create art to take home with you.

Live Wire Special "Black History Month Special" with Hanif Abdurraqib, Clint Smith, and Melanie Charles

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022

6 p.m.

KUGS-FM 89.3 and kugs

In celebration of Black History Month, host Luke Burbank and announcer Elena Passarello share conversations with some of Live Wire's most remarkable guests: MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow Hanif Abdurraqib discusses his highly acclaimed collection of essays, "A Little Devil in America," which poetically praises the cultural and historical significance of Black performance of all kinds; writer Clint Smith takes us on a journey of his best-selling book "How the Word is Passed," which examines the legacy of slavery through various sites across the country, from Angola prison all the way to Wall Street; and genre-bending powerhouse Melanie Charles soars with a "reimagining" of Marlena Shaw's "Woman of the Ghetto."

Okoye and Beethoven
Presented by WWU Symphony Orchestra

Monday, Feb. 14, 2022

7:30 p.m.

In Person, Performing Arts Center 155, Concert Hall

Nkeiru Okoye: Songs of Harriet Tubman, featuring Ibidunni Ojikutu, soprano
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7

Watch the livestream and learn more about this event.

Come in from the dreary February weather to warm your body and spirit with the Western Symphony Orchestra in a free, one-act performance of inspiring, uplifting, and incredible music. Celebrated soprano (and WWU alumna) Ibidunni Ojikutu joins the WSO to sing four arias from Nigerian-American composer Nkeiru Okoye’s stirring opera "Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom", tracing Tubman’s journey from a childhood in slavery to becoming “the Moses of her people.”

The concert will conclude with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major, composed in 1812 as Europe was freeing itself from the iron grip of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Seventh Symphony is among the most perennially fresh and viscerally optimistic music in the repertoire, and as good a balm as can be found for the troubles of our own times.

The Takeaway Specials: MLK – Activism and the Arts

Thursday, Feb 17, 2022

6 p.m.

KUGS-FM 89.3 and kugs

This year’s discussion will focus on how Dr. King leveraged the influence of artists in the civil rights movement and how that legacy of activism in the arts continues today. Focusing on the long-standing connection between activism and artistry, participants will discuss how the struggle for social justice affected icons from Nina Simone to John Legend and how they, in turn, helped drive the struggle for social justice.

Black in Bellingham: Our Story Our Voices

Tuesday - Wednesday, Feb. 22 - 23, 2022 

Tuesday, Feb. 22, noon – 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Viking Union 565

Join in a multi-sensory live event slated for Feb. 22, and Feb. 23, 2022. This immersive presentation is designed to raise awareness and explore the different types of oppressive experiences of Black Identified people (BIP) in Bellingham.

This event is presented by WWU Residential Life Inclusion Assistants in collaboration with the WWU Residence Hall Association.

Reclaiming the Ancestral Roots of Black Farming

Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022

6 p.m.

KUGS-FM 89.3 and kugs

Theresa Marquez speaks with Dr. Shakara Tyler. Dr. Tyler is a member of Black Dirt Farm Collective and president of the board of directors of Detroit Black Community Food Security Network.

Educator and activist-scholar Dr. Shakara Tyler is a "returning generation farmer" who engages in Black agrarianism, agroecology, food sovereignty and climate justice.

Farming While Black: How One Community Farm Is Uprooting Racism

Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022

6:30 p.m.

KUGS-FM 89.3 and kugs

Leah Penniman, founder of Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black, discusses how Afro-Indigenous centered community farms can uproot the food system and create new opportunities for Black and Brown farmers. 

The Works of Omar Thomas
Presented by WWU Wind Symphony

Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022

7:30 p.m.

In Person, Performing Arts Center 155, Concert Hall

Symphony No. 3, Kimberly Archer; Handel in the Strand, Percy Gainger

Watch the Works of Omar Thomas Livestream

Described as "elegant, beautiful, sophisticated, intense, and crystal clear in emotional intent," the music of Omar Thomas continues to move listeners everywhere it is performed. Born to Guyanese parents in Brooklyn, New York in 1984, Omar moved to Boston in 2006 to pursue a Master of Music in Jazz Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music after studying Music Education at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He is the protégé of lauded composers and educators Ken Schaphorst and Frank Carlberg, and has studied under multiple Grammy-winning composer and bandleader Maria Schneider.

Hailed by Herbie Hancock as showing "great promise as a new voice in the further development of jazz in the future," educator, arranger, and award-winning composer Omar Thomas has created music extensively in the contemporary jazz ensemble idiom. It was while completing his Master of Music Degree that he was appointed the position of Assistant Professor of Harmony at Berklee College of Music at the surprisingly young age of 23. He was awarded the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award in 2008, and invited by the ASCAP Association to perform his music in their highly exclusive JaZzCap Showcase, held in New York City. In 2012, Omar was named the Boston Music Award's "Jazz Artist of the Year." Following his Berklee tenure, he served on faculty of the Music Theory department at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Now a Yamaha Master Educator, he is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition and Jazz Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Omar's music has been performed in concert halls the world over. He has been commissioned to create works in both jazz and classical styles. His work has been performed by such diverse groups as the Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, the San Francisco and Boston Gay Mens' Choruses, and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, in addition to a number of the country's top collegiate music ensembles. Omar has had a number of celebrated singers perform over his arrangements, including Stephanie Mills, Yolanda Adams, Nona Hendryx, BeBe Winans, Kenny Lattimore, Marsha Ambrosius, Sheila E., Raul Midon, Leela James, Dionne Warwick, and Chaka Khan. His work is featured on Dianne Reeves's Grammy Award-winning album, "Beautiful Life."

Omar's first album, "I AM," debuted at #1 on iTunes Jazz Charts and peaked at #13 on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Albums Chart. His second release, " We Will Know: An LGBT Civil Rigths Piece in Four Movements," has been hailed by Grammy Award-wining drummer, composer, and producer Terri Lyne Carrington as being a "thought provoking, multi-layered masterpiece" which has "put him in the esteemed category of great artists." "We Will Know" was awarded two OUTMusic Awards, including "Album of the Year." For this work, Omar was named the 2014 Lavender Rhino Award recipient by The History Project, acknowledging his work as an up-and-coming activist in the Boston LGBTQ community. Says Terri Lyne: "Omar Thomas will prove to be one of the more important composer/arrangers of his time."

Milton Muldrow, Jr sits in front of a microscope wearing a brown jacket.

Radical New Approaches to Biology & Ecology to Save Species and Broaden Participation in STEM

Monday, February 28, 2022

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Viking Union Multipurpose Room  (with WWU ID)

Join us with Milton Muldrow, Jr. on Zoom

It is no secret that our world is facing unprecedented challenges including climate change, mass extinction, pollution of our waterways, and the toxification of our planet. In order for us to solve these problems, we will need to take both unconventional approaches to the science, and the community of science. In this talk, Milton Muldrow, Jr. will present a challenge to conservation biology regarding methods needed to employ to avert disaster. And, to ensure success, we will need to take everyone along for the ride, including finding ways to recruit more students of color to STEM.

Milton Muldrow, Jr. is an assistant professor and Chair of Science at Wilmington University. Dr. Muldrow is an associate director of the Delaware Space Grant Consortium, NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Project which provides education and research resources for college-level students who have a potential future with the federal aeronautics and space agency. He holds a PhD in environmental science and public policy from George Mason University and a Master of Biology from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.