‘A Black History Program’ unites campus, community

Maggie Eubanks, News Editor

As Black History Month comes to a close, ULM’s Cultural Diversity Program and Office of International Student Programs and Cultural Affairs held an event at Bayou Pointe on Friday to call attention to the month’s celebration aptly titled “A Black History Program.”

The event featured performances from students and community members. Mr. ULM Colby Pogue played the saxophone. Dazzle Dance Company performed for the crowd followed by a keynote address from Stephen Peters.

Peters holds a doctorate in education and has spent his life teaching and advocating for minority students. He is the author of several best-selling books, including “Do You Know Enough about Me to Teach Me.” Peters has also served on panels with the U.S. Secretary of Education, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Literacy Association. 

Peters spoke to students with three goals in mind: to capture, inspire and teach. 

“I think when we do those three things, people are not only inspired, but they’re empowered to really think about what that next level is for them and to understand that that next level is going to require a different version of them,” Peters said. “They’re going to have to read more, and they’re going to have to sacrifice more.”

Peters encouraged ULM students and the Monroe community alike to remember those that blazed the path before them and to honor Black history every day, not just one month out of the year. 

“Black history is every day, not just February, it’s every day,” Peters said. “So we have to honor the people that came before it and gave their lives for it. We have to remember their sacrifice, and we have to impart ourselves into the solution so we can make the world a better place.”

The solution Peters is talking about is getting rid of the fence or the barriers that lay between people and their success. He said the solution to equity is not to give people a step up so they can see over the fence but to get rid of the fence altogether. 

Some of the people working on getting rid of the fence at ULM were honored after Peters’ speech. Erick Burton, an enrollment services specialist at ULM, was awarded the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Spotlight Award by Pamela Saulsberry, the executive director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Alicia Rollins was honored with the Dr. Pamela H Saulsberry Trailblazer Award. 

“For her to see someone as young as myself, just 25 years old, working hard and not looking for any spotlight or anything, just working my mission allows me to see that nothing goes unnoticed, and it feels really good to see that my work is not in vain,” Burton said. 

Also in attendance at the event were high school seniors from Delhi High School, the school that Burton goes to in his recruiting efforts. 

“Delhi is a very small town, small school with limited resources,” Burton said. “For them to come to this campus and get a tour and see Dr. Berry and Dr. Fields and all those great leaders, for them to get outside of their school and see something like this, it was great.” 

The program ended with the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” led by ULM’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Valerie Fields. 

The event gave the university an opportunity to uplift African American students and community members and recognize them for their accomplishments.