Celebrating the Historical, Cultural Contributions of African Americans

The Center for Multicultural Initiatives (CMI) started African American Celebration Month (AACM) on Jan. 18 with its opening ceremony, which paid tribute to African American heritage and culture.

After the Keeper of the Dream award ceremony and keynote address by LeVar Burton, everyone was welcomed to the Pioneer Food Court in the OC for refreshments and a meet and great with Burton.

For two hours, Burton met with everyone who waited in line to take pictures with him and to get his signature on his written works: “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” and “Aftermath”.

Amy Joa, the newest member of CMI and a part of the 2016 AACM Committee, said she feels lucky and privileged to work with colleagues who are genuinely invested in helping retain and graduate students.  Joa is a retention coordinator, and her primary role includes advising and monitoring academic standing of students.

“AACM at OU is special because it takes African American history and celebrates it in a way that is inviting, exciting and collaborative,” Joa said.

Joa added that the AACM committee is made up of faculty, staff and students who come together to plan and host engaging programs and events that many look forward to.

According to Joa, AACM has something for everyone, including a day of service, panels, guest speakers, films, showcases, interactive learning exhibits and even a blood drive.

AACM goes from Jan. 18 to Feb. 18. During the month, there will be a series of events highlighting the importance of diversity and raising awareness of African American contributions to society with the theme of “Preserving Our Heritage”.

The first event of AACM is on Jan. 23 with MLK Day of Service, a volunteer event with various non-profits for students to volunteer at. To register, visit oakland.edu/csa/volunteer.

The next event, A Walk Through History, will have five different scenes of moments in African American history with presentation boards, short video clips, music and presenters.  According to the AACM webpage, the goal of this event is to help students understand the depth and richness of African American history within 20 minutes.

AACM will also host their first ever blood drive on Jan. 26 with help from the American Red Cross.

The last event in January is a panel discussion focusing on racial profiling, social justice and the role of higher education. Faculty and doctoral students from the School of Education and Human Services will discuss the role of higher education institutions when racial injustice tragedies occur across the nation.

According to its website, “the Center for Multicultural Initiatives was established in 1993 to advance Oakland University’s commitment to diversity in increasing the retention and graduation of a culturally diverse student body by developing strategies that engage all students in the attainment of academic excellence and social success.”

For more information on AACM, visit oakland.edu/aacm.