Students Prepare for Black History Month Kick-Off Event
By Anna Salewycz
Syracuse University’s Black History Month Kickoff Celebration will take place tonight at seven in Goldstein Auditorium. Black comedian Karlous Miller will host the event, which will feature several Black student performances.
Many Syracuse Black community members gathered for this celebration last year. Mark Nzasi is the social media chair for the Thrillin’ Theta Xi Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, which is part of what is commonly referred to as the Divine 9, or D-9, – nine historically Black fraternities and sororities. Nzasi attended the event last year as a freshman and says it’s a great opportunity for first-year Black students to learn about the Black organizations at SU and leave a lasting impact on the broader Syracuse community.
Reya Thompson, another member of the D-9, is the president and treasurer of the Tantalizing Theta Tau Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated. Thompson also attended last year’s event as a freshman. She says this celebration helped her discover the D9 and connect with Black students who share similar values and experiences as her. After initially struggling to find the Black community, Thompson says she finally found her people and her place.
Thompson says this event has taken on a new meaning in light of Tyre Nichols’s death. She says it’s devastating to see another Black man suffer from this recurring situation and believes change will only happen if the Black community uses their voices to showcase their history. She echoed a social media post she saw following Nichols’s death, “Black women and men deserve to grow old.”
There are many Black History Month events planned for the coming weeks, including the State of the Black Hair Experience on February 8th and the Celebrating Black Excellence Gall on the 25th.