by Hannah Stafford, News Editor

Although recognitions of Black History Month (BHM) — such as Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel — have been taking place for many years at Asbury, the office of Intercultural Programs and the Black Student Alliance (BSA) have recently been expanding their work in the month of February.

Last year, the BSA hosted their first week of activities dedicated to African- American history. According to Esther Jadhav, director of intercultural programs, the week was met with much success and will be continued this year from Feb. 20 to 24.

“I think we had a very favorable response,” said Jadhav. “[Students were] very excited to be a part of different events…we had lots of different activities that will showcase our African American heritage and culture, and people were excited about the variety.”

Two events in particular, Night at the Apollo and Rhythm and Soul Night, were popular enough that they will be returning in this year’s lineup, according to Jadhav. Rhythm and Soul Night collaborates with Pioneer Catering to provide historically-accurate African American food in the cafeteria for students to enjoy while musicians and decorations contribute to the atmosphere. It will be held on Friday, Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. The Night at the Apollo will be Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Stuce.

“The Apollo has its roots in the black theater,” said BSA President Ereika Smith. “We weren’t allowed in regular theater so this was our way to celebrate art, music and dance. We’re going to have lots students performing, so it’s kind of a talent show and kind of a classy night.”

While classy attire is encouraged for Night at the Apollo, it is not required. Other events, which are new this year, include Jeopardy on Monday and Learn How to Step on Tuesday. Jeopardy will test the knowledge of three campus professors, Dr. Erin Penner, Dr. Jill Campbell and Professor Nathan Miller, on African American history, and Learn How to Step will teach students the basics of an African American form of dance known as “stepping.” Both of these events will be held in the Stuce at 7:30 p.m. On Thursday, there will be a showing of the Netflix documentary “The 13th” in the Kinlaw Boardroom. There is limited seating, so students are requested to RSVP to Sara Trapp before coming.

“The 13th” refers to the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in America in 1864. According to Smith, there will be a time for discussion at the end of the showing to help students process the content.

“Something so heavy needs to be processed and talked-out,” said Smith. “People need to understand how this affects them, even if they’re not black. Anything that affects anyone in America affects everyone. We’re all American.”

Junior and member of BSA Quinnette Connor is excited for all of the Black History Week activities but particularly for seeing “The 13th.”

“I think students will truly learn from this documentary and hopefully leave with a broader perspective on how differently people view America,” said Connor. “I do not mean that in a negative way. We just need to be aware of one another.”

Connor continued by explaining why Black History Month is important.

“We know everyone of every race is God’s creation, and so the celebration of one race is a celebration for all,” said Connor. “We should be proud of our differences and celebrate them. Black History Month is important because it sets the record straight and is a testament to seeking truth and seeing the depth of people and how God created us to be: respectful, humble, loving and hardworking.”