Black History Month Events Focus on Campus-Community Connections, Shifting Ideologies

Southeast Missouri State University will celebrate Black History Month in February with events designed to commemorate the heritage of African-Americans. “Black History Month is important because it pays homage to the African Americans that laid the foundation before us,” says Tameika Culler Morris, grants coordinator in the Office of Research and Grant Development and co-chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Planning Committee. “It is an appreciation of the progress that has been made over the generations and the contributions that have made life easier for all Americans, regardless of race. Through Black History activities, we witness the evolution of African Americans. An important lesson learned in regard to civil rights is that anyone may become a positive agent of change through leadership and equal treatment. “Events that occur during Black History Month bring awareness of the times, enabling us as Americans to celebrate each other based on character and the content of their hearts, not the color of their skin,” she added. “We all have something positive to give, we just need to allow time for it to reveal itself.” Dr. Morris-Jenkins, dean of the College of Health and Human Services and co-chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Planning Committee, added, “We are at the crossroads on civil rights, social justice and other issues. It is up to us to steer the ship in the right direction.  Tip O’Neill stated that all politics is local, so it is logical to expect all social change as local.” A number of activities, programs and discussions have been planned for the month. They include: Campus and Community Connections 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1, Crowe Gallery, 13 S. Spanish Street Southeast Missouri State University's Black Faculty/Staff Alliance and The Academic Support Centers are hosting an event for African American campus and community members to connect and discuss issues critical to the development and success of the African American community overall. Please join us in this networking event at one of the outstanding art galleries in downtown Cape Girardeau. The discussion will include building and maintaining professional relationships on campus and within our community. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Tameka Randle at (573) 986-6135 or   All Politics Are Personal 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8, University Center Tribute Room  Political awareness and understanding are critical to Americans. The shifting political base impacts us all from the local to the national level. This guided discussion will center on the idea that the 'future belongs to those of us that remain aware and vigilant' and will be aimed at addressing current beliefs, the differences and commonalities between the two major political parties, the changing demographics of where we are today and how we must all be involved moving forward.  For more information or to volunteer, please contact Trent Ball at (573) 986-6135 or   Where Do We Stand? 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 13, University Center, Redhawks Room This panel discussion will be an opportunity for African American males from the campus and community to have an open dialogue and intentional discussion regarding our role in American society. Discussion topics will include the importance of education in developing a professional mindset and the relevance of civic engagement. The purpose of the event is to cultivate an ongoing exchange of ideas among black males on campus and in the community. African American male alumni will lead the panel and facilitate the discussion.  For more information or to volunteer, please contact James Williams at (573) 986-6135 or   21st Annual Michael Davis Lecture: “An Evening with Zerlina Maxwell” 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, Glenn Auditorium, Dempster Hall The Michael Davis Lecture is free and open to the public. It recognizes the contributions of African Americans in the media and honors the late Michael Davis, a journalism student at Southeast who died as a result of a hazing incident. This year’s speaker, Zerlina Maxwell, is an attorney, political analyst, writer and commentator, and an activist against rape culture and sexual assault. She served as the director of progressive media for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Maxwell is a speaker and contributing writer for Essence Magazine,, and She writes about national politics, candidates, and specific policy and culture issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, victim blaming and gender inequality. She was also selected by Time as having one of the best Twitter feeds in 2014. For more information, email Sia Sharma at or call (573) 651-2606.   National TRIO Day Celebration 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28, Show Me Center Meeting Rooms  National TRIO Day celebrates the sustained impact and success of the Federal TRIO programs in communities and recognizes the importance of educational opportunity programs in creating a fairer society for all Americans. As a critical component of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, TRIO programs work to protect and further access to higher education for low income, first generation students, students with disabilities and veterans and are committed to the principles of social justice. Accomplishments of current and former participants in the Southeast Missouri State University TRIO programs and Academic Support Centers will be highlighted.  For more information, please contact Monica Barnes by calling at (573) 651-2272 or   Second Annual Sisters Doing It For Themselves Noon, Tuesday, Feb. 28, University Center This is the second annual celebration of African American women (faculty and staff) on Southeast Missouri State University's campus. Invitees will invite one student to be encouraged and developed as they discuss, 'How to Keep Your Vision Alive.'  For more information or to volunteer, please contact Kei-Shae McCrary at (573) 986-6315 or