Wednesday, January 29, 2020

UIS announces Black History Month 2020 events

The University of Illinois Springfield will celebrate Black History Month in February with a variety of events designed to educate and raise awareness. The theme of this year’s celebration is “We Are Deeply Rooted.” The following events are free and open to the public.

Candle Light Vigil 
11:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 – UIS Student Union
Students and community members are invited to participate in a Candle Light Vigil honoring the life of anyone who they have lost. Participants are encouraged to light a candle and say a few remarks for that special person.

BHM 2020 Unity Rally 
6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1 – UIS Student Union Ballroom
Come out and help open the month by engaging in sign-making, chants, and other activities. Additionally, at the rally, we invite and encourage all to bring special recipes from their cultures dedicated to the idea of making a “Food for the Soul” cook book.

Healthcare’s Hidden Figures 
5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7 – Diversity Center
The Diversity Center will host a dynamic panel of women who will discuss the challenges and triumphs they have faced as women of color in the healthcare field. Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions and network with panelists who come from diverse backgrounds in healthcare. Panelists include Charlene Aaron, Ph.D, R.N., chancellor of the St. John's College of Nursing; Elaine Hardy, Ph.D., R.N., president of the Black Nurses Association of Central Illinois; Erica Maduakolam, a student at the SIU School of Medicine; Kia Stewart, R.N., neuro/trauma ICU nurse manager at Memorial Medical Center; and Dr. Wendi Wills El-Amin, associate dean for equity, diversity and inclusion at the SIU School of Medicine. The panel will be moderated by University of Illinois at Chicago nursing student K'Lynn Brown.

Black Male Collegiate Society/Men of Color Induction Ceremony 
4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8 – Student Union Ballroom
Join UIS as we celebrate the accomplishments of those being inducted into the Black Male Collegiate Society/Men of Color Initiative. Hear from various past members and newly inducted members on their journey from maleness to manhood.

Open Mic 
9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 – Student Union Sports Grill
Join the Student Activities Committee for an open mic night with Chicago-based author, motivational speaker and new age poet Harold Green. The event is a live show where audience members may perform their spoken word pieces.

Highschool Mixer 
9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14 – Student Union Ballroom Local high school students (juniors and seniors) are invited to partake in a campus visit where they will have a chance to interact, learn and socialize with many current African American student leaders at UIS. There will be a chance to learn more about the importance of Greek Life and witness a special presentation.

Greek Life: Past, Present, Future 
5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14 – Public Affairs Center, Room F
Greek life isn’t all about strolling, throwing up hand signs or wearing colors. The purpose and work of Greek letter organizations has impacted the world in numerous ways. This presentation will include an in-depth conversation about the purpose and impact of Greek life while focusing on the three pillars of education, politics and social atmosphere. Presenters will discuss how these three topics have evolved throughout history.

“The Birth of a Nation” film screening and discussion 
7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19 – UIS Studio Theatre
A film screening and discussion about the 2016 motion picture "The Birth of a Nation" starring Nate Parker. Interactive and respectful discussion is encouraged following the film among the students and other attendees.

ECCE Speaker: Cori Bush 
6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 – UIS Brookens Auditorium
The University of Illinois Springfield Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series will welcome Cori Bush — one of four politicians featured in the award- winning documentary “Knock Down The House” — to discuss her experience, the goal of getting diverse voices into political office and why these voices matter. The event will start with a screening of the documentary, followed by a discussion.

Gospel Concert 
7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 – Lincoln Residence Hall Greatroom
"Sounds of Victory" will serve as the spiritual component within Black History Month. Students and guests are invited to be reminded of healing and triumph through song, dance and fellowship.

ECCE Speaker: Melisande Short-Colomb 
6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 – UIS Brookens Auditorium
The UIS Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE) Speaker Series presents “College Students and Reparations: A Georgetown University Slavery Descendant’s Story” with speaker Melisande Short-Colomb. She was recently informed that two of her ancestors were two of the 272 enslaved people owned by the Jesuits of Georgetown University and sold in 1838 to keep the university afloat. Granted legacy status, she enrolled at Georgetown at age 63 and joined other activist students in documenting the university’s slavery history, grappling with the question of reparations, organizing and voting for a restitution fee and debating how to best use the fees.

For more information on Black History Month events, visit the UIS Diversity Center website at or contact Justin Rose, director of diversity and inclusion, at 217-206-6333 or

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