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Black History Month Closes with Guests, Performances

Jeff Dess

Throughout the month of February, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Black History Month Committee of Stony Brook University coordinated and hosted Black History Month, an annual tradition that celebrates the African American experience.

Educational, social, and cultural programs reflecting the theme, “Sankofa! Blackness is Endless” were held on Stony Brook campus. At the closing ceremony, held on Feb. 27 at the Student Activities Center, Cheryl Chambers, Associate Dean & Director of Multicultural Affairs said: “This event is important because it focuses on the history, community, it’s celebratory and it’s an important part of SBU. It’s nice that the campus can come together to learn and appreciate black history.”

Jeff Dess
Guest speaker Jeff Dess

“I want Stony Brook University to be a pathway toward aspiration for black students and all students,” President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said as he delivered remarks commemorating the event. “Black History Month is a core part of what SBU is,” he said.

The event began with opening remarks and acknowledgements from Durron Newman, followed by remarks from Dr. Jarvis M. Watson, Interim Chief Diversity Officer, who said, “It’s been such an amazing month and with tonight we wanted to emphasize what ‘blackness is endless’ really means.”

The night also included the presentation of awards to faculty, students, and staff. The BHM Far Beyond Award was awarded to Angela Agnello, Director of Marketing & Communications for the Faculty Student Association.  Germaine Robinson won the Mr. Ralph Watkins Memorial Scholarship, a $500 award. T’kheya Yisrael, senior and president of the Black Student Union, was the recipient of the Dr. William McAdoo Memorial Scholarship.

The BHM Staff Legacy Award was presented to Watson. The BHM Unsung Hero Award was given to Jamie Abudu-solo, a senior health sciences major and BHM Closing Ceremony Co-Chair.

Jeff Dess, author, educator and co-founder of Trill or Not Trill, was the evening’s guest speaker. Dess explained how he grew up in a storytelling community, so felt inspired to tell stories for the night. “The stories that we tell today are the things that are going to last. We need to create a voice for the voiceless,” said Dess.

“I think it’s important to speak to college students because they are the future and the biggest changes in history happens with young people,” Dess said. “Black History Month to me is a moment to remember some of the things that have been forgotten.”

Following the guest speaker, the ‘Spoken Word’ winners were announced and acknowledged. Afterwards, a showstopping performance was offered by the Cadence Step Team, followed by an open dance floor.

–Maya Brown


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