The Center for Race, Ethnicity & Diversity Education hosted the Black History Month Kickoff event on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The theme for Black History Month 2023 at Elon is "The Black Renaissance: Revive, Reclaim, Rejoice."
When Sivuan Scott ’23 began the Black History Month Kickoff with a powerful rendition of the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the tone for the event was set.
As Scott sang the last line of the first verse, “Let us march on till victory is won,” those gathered in McKinnon Hall erupted into applause, and a night of many celebrations and a month full of recognitions was officially underway.
“It fills me with pride every time I sing it. Paying tribute to ancestors makes me feel connected with my peace,” Scott said.
During the kickoff event, other artistic performances were on display as Tyler McKellar ’25 delivered an original poem and Chris Murphy ’25 performed an original rap. The Walls, an African drum group on campus, performed several African musical compositions.
This year’s Black History Month theme at Elon is “The Black Renaissance: Revive, Reclaim, Rejoice,” and throughout McKinnon Hall were posters of many prominent figures and events during that period of Black history. On each poster was a QR code that provided extra information and performances from each artist and occurrence.
As a part of the Black Entrepreneur Initiative at Elon, Xavier Bryant ’20, community director of residence life, and Dejour Banks ’24, a Doherty Scholar in the Odyssey Program, both shared their entrepreneurial ventures. At different tables were games and a canvas outlined with “unity” for students to paint their handprints.
And, of course, there was food.
“But it’s the food in combination with what the food brings. Food always brings a communal vibe and energy. It always brings the community together,” Scott said.
For Amanda Carter ’24, that type of communal bonding in the name of Black culture is what will stick with her most about the kickoff.
“I love seeing all the Black students, students of colors, allies, here supporting Black History Month because it took us a long time to get this together,” said Carter, a Black Student Success Coordinator within the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education (CREDE).
Taylor Scott ’25, also a Black Student Success Coordinator, said the CREDE has been working on setting up the kickoff most of Winter Term and for it all to come to fruition and be the reason behind so much joy was truly a pleasure.
“I think this is important for the community, for us to exist and not feel different,” Scott said.
The CREDE is hosting several programs and events throughout February uplifting and celebrating Black history. The next Black History Month event is the second annual Iman W.D. Mohmmed Symposium on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the McBride Gathering Space. Sponsored by CREDE, Muslim Life at Elon and the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society, the symposium will feature Imams Oliver Mohammed and Salahuddin Muhammad as it honors the legacy of Warith Dean Mohammed, a distinguished Muslim leader known for reforming the Nation of Islam.