Myatt Center & NAACP host Black History Month programs

February is Black History Month and the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion (MCDI) has been known for hosting and promoting a variety of events to help celebrate and educate students. Carrie Robinson was recently named the director of the Myatt Center and with the new hire, there has been an even greater push to encourage students to learn about how to be more inclusive of their peers on campus.

Zanaiya Léon works at the Myatt Center as the senior coordinator for leadership and diversity and inclusion. She spoke about the pivot from in-person to virtual Black History Month programming on Zoom.

“This year was a bit of a challenge, as you can imagine since we’re used to hosting programs that are in-person and usually include food and none of that is safe to do anymore,” she said. “The Black History Month planning committee is made up of students, faculty, and staff so we had to get really creative with planning virtual events that were still engaging, fun, and informative.”

“By offering students more ownership with programs we hope that they can reach out to their networks and introduce their peers to the Myatt Center and all that we have to offer,” said Léon.

Leon said that it’s not just the Myatt Center that puts on events.

“You’ll note that there aren’t any events hosted by the Myatt Center alone and that’s because a lot of the work that the MCDI does is to directly benefit or impact the students, Léon said. “So, we wanted to give students an opportunity to run the show this time around.”

Student groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have hosted a wide range of events as well.

Destiny Rubins, a junior International Affairs major and the university’s chapter of the NAACP public relations (PR) chair, spoke specifically about the events the organization is holding virtually. “Over the last few weeks and continuing into the next couple of weeks, my e-board has had events celebrating Black History Month,” she said. “Our first event featured a panel discussing what’s next for our generation of people of color (POC). Then, on Feb. 16, we discussed how Black women are discriminated against in the healthcare field.”

She also spoke about the lasting impression these programs and initiatives for Black students have on campus. “Something as simple as an Instagram post explaining my experience with my natural hair, or a Zoom meeting I hosted with 80+ attendees might not seem like it has much of an impact; But what it does is remind us that this might be a long fight but we are not alone. Black History Month is a reminder that we are more than what they make us out to be.”

If you would like to get more involved in the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion, you can contact the center at [email protected].