CSUB celebrates Black History Month


Graphic published by CSUB Campus Programming

Graciela Aguilar and Ernesto Leon

CSU Bakersfield kicked off this year’s Black History Month with a virtual event hosted by the CSUB Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA). This meet and greet event introduced students, faculty, and members of the community to powerful Black voices in the roadrunner family. 

 Tamar Anthony, Co-chair of the BFSA, announced this year’s theme for Black History Month using a collaborative method by asking everyone to unmute and say it with her,  

“We’re Black and we’re Proud,” Anthony stated.  

The event started off with a message from President Zelezny,  

“The beauty of this month of observance is that it allows each member of our extended family to celebrate the unique experiences, contributions, and culture of African American Runners.”  

President Zelenzy also mentioned a historic inclusion to the curriculum for all freshmen students, ethnic Studies, which was taken for the first time after implementation last semester. She ended her speech by asking for a moment of silence for Annette Brasher, the former Black Student Union (BSU) President who unfortunately passed away in December.  

The event also heard from Darius Riggins, Co-chair of BFSA and Director of Outreach, who said, 

“There is two main points that I want to point out with the significance of Black History Month. First and foremost is to be able to identify and show that African Americans have made significant contributions to society and the world… Secondly, it is important to point out these accomplishments because we tend to see recognition in the forms of entertainment and sports platforms…Being able to see and understand other things (contributions) that have taken place in this society allows the African American community to gain inspiration and to be able to say, ‘if they can do it, I can do it.”  

The event also shared voices from student leaders. President of the African Student Association (ASA), Chidinma Okey-Dike, talked about the ASA’s goals of unity within the campus to provide a safe space for Black students to go and feel comfortable. Another voice was President of the Black Student Union, Fitzgerald Graves, who talked about the importance of Black History Month,  

“When it comes to Black History I feel strongly about this month. I love that we get an opportunity to revisit and look at all the great accomplishments African Americans have contributed to this nation and this world. I am happy we also spotlight all the positive attributes and put away with the negatives.”  

Fitzgerald also paid tribute to Annette Brasher,  

“My friend Nette, who’s passionate about this month as well, she left us unexpectedly… Her passion for her fellow peers ran deep…She was one of those people who would give you whatever you need. A ride, a meal, a book for a public health class, gas, she believed that if you helped a person, you would enhance their life in the way they can do it for others.”  

The event gave an opportunity to promote Black voices in a time where Black excellence is especially meant to be represented. Natasha Harris, Transfer Student Sucess Coordinator, elaborated on this point saying that Black History is a time that honors Black success, but it’s a celebration that should be felt all year long.  

Black History Month is an annual observance held each February honoring the contributions of African Americans to United States history. Historically the second week of February was chosen as Negro History Week partly because of the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, who had great significance in the emancipation of slaves. The commemorating of Black People was established first as a week then expanded to be a recognition of the accomplishments of Black African Americans by declaring February Black History Month.  

 Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a significant reminder that Black stories are essential to the ongoing story of America, our struggles, our progress, and our ambitions. 

The Black Faculty and Staff are holding multiple events all throughout the month of February in celebration of Black History Month. Darrius Riggins, co-chair to the BSFA, will host a virtual meeting of Blacks in Space and Technology which will showcase African Americans who have made significant contributions to space and technology on Feb. 25 at 12 p.m.  

“We will identify different inventions that contributed to technology that people might not know that were invented or started by African Americans, as well as African Americans that are in the space program,” Riggins said.  

Recognizing African Americans that have contributed to even the everyday items we use and might not recognize as being Black made. Tamar Anthony, also co-chair of the BFSA, elaborates on their collaboration with other organizations to celebrate Black History Month.  

“It has been wonderful to work with everyone to ensure a successful month for the campus community,” Tamar said.  

Campus programming has also outlined several events for the month.