By Mataeo Smith
This black history month, students are challenged with educating themselves on the fundamentals of activism through the struggles of early black americans. The 28 days of equity project explores these struggles and splits them into categories correlating with different senses pushing students to read, listen, watch and reflect black history in an effort to create future leaders who will speak out against injustice.
The project focuses on four themes surrounding black history: activism within the black community, embracing and celebrating black culture, healing and addressing the trauma within the black community and intersectionality of Blackness. Each categorie is explored through a plethora of resources from a news article highlighting black women’s impetus to vote in order to strengthen their communities to a Micheal Jackson’s “They don’t care about us” song—speaking out against racial discrimination within the police force.
“The purpose of the 28 Days of Equity Challenge is an innovative educational experience for the campus to gain knowledge focusing on the four themes in the competition format to bring awareness and spark intentional thought across the campus community to expand beyond Black History Month.” Coordinator of Multicultural initiatives Sean Rice said. “The goal is two-fold; to build our collective sensitivity of racial equity while moving us from talk to intentional action as a campus and to challenge us to do our own work to address inequities in our daily lives.”
Rice sends the daily challenges to students via email with a brief description of the topic for the day. The text will include a link to a news article, a song and a video all pertaining to one of the four themes of black history. Rice strongly encourages participating students and faculty to submit personal reflections to the challeng’s google sheet on the specific topic for the day. Students who present an exceptional understanding of the topic could receive gift cards. However, Rice believes he’s the lucky one who has the honor of watching students mentally grow as they become more educated in black culture.
“ I developed the placement for each piece of content to ensure each of our themes were highlighted through content to read, listen to, watch, and reflect on,” Rice said. “It’s been amazing to review the content for myself, so I can continue my self work as well.”
While the 28 days project acts as a source of education in black history, some students are precarious about the impact it will really have. SUNY Plattsburgh sophomore Taliyah Matthews expressed how real change would come from the college introducing a black history class. Nonetheless, Rice remains ecstatic about the project and looks forward to the rest of the month.
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