WKU community leaders and undergraduate students were recognized and Black culture was celebrated on Thursday night during the Intercultural Student Engagement Center’s Black History Month opening ceremony.
ISEC member RoDijett Jones, a Louisville junior studying musical theatre, welcomed guests and honorees at the ceremony with her rendition of the Negro National Anthem. Following Jones’ performance, prose, poetry and speeches were performed by ISEC students and award recipients.
The event was made possible through collaborations with the Black History Month planning committee and the Black Student Alliance.
Kiria Braden, a Nashville senior studying social media marketing and the president of the Black Student Alliance, helped sponsor the event.
“We’re just coming together and celebrating everything we have planned for Black History Month,” Braden said. “We have a full calendar of events starting today up until the end of February. All of the Black organizations on campus have some kind of event this month.”
Awards were presented to recognize undergraduate students and community members who demonstrated excellence in supporting the Black community at WKU. Among the numerous awards given at the ceremony include the Dr. Lloren Foster Lift Every Voice award, which went to Lindsey Houchin and Abraham Williams.
Nashville senior Kiria Braden speaks at the beginning of the Black History Month Opening Celebration at the Harbaugh Club in Houchens Stadium on Thursday, Jan. 28. Braden is the president of the Black Student Alliance, which worked closely with the Black History Month planning committee to organize a range of events to celebrate Black history on WKU’s campus.
Suwanee, Ga., senior Austin Brown also spoke during The Black History Month Opening Celebration at the Harbaugh Club in Houchens Stadium. The event was hosted by the Intercultural Student Engagement Center, which has a range of events scheduled for the month of February in celebration of Black History Month.
Sidonia Brown, a Nashville sophomore studying child studies, was among one of the many ISEC students who received awards for their academic performance during the fall 2020 semester.
“Everyone there genuinely wants to see you grow and succeed, which has helped me persevere through my college journey so far,” Brown said. “Being a part of ISEC has provided me opportunities for leadership and campus involvement that I would have never been able to do on my own.”
Tracy Scott, a Louisville senior studying journalism and African American studies, was a keynote speaker at the ceremony.
“We shouldn’t let fear of society hold us back from learning the roots of who we are,” Scott said. “Society expects us to mask how great we are, but our culture is just so rich and unique that we shouldn’t suppress our roots, origins or our history to make the world feel comfortable.”
During Black History Month, Scott said ISEC has already planned a litany of events on campus to celebrate Black culture. ISEC aims to do this by providing students with both virtual and in-person events that focus on Black speakers and themes. Look here for information on future events.