Dear Carolina Community,
Happy Black History Month!
In 1926, historian Carter G. Woodson and members of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (today known as the Association for the Study of African America Life and History) proposed the second week of February be proclaimed Negro History Week. This particular week was chosen because it includes the birthdays of Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, President Gerald Ford formally recognized February as Black History Month, to be observed annually.
Almost a century after the first Negro History Week and a half-century after the national recognition of Black History Month, America is still plagued by racism. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, even as we strive to advocate and educate for anti-racist behavior, we continue to grapple with it, as reflected in the recent hate and vandalism events at our Campus Y. The anti-Black (as well as anti-Semitic and anti-female) rhetoric left behind made it clear that we still have a long way to go towards real understanding.
Additionally, the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion is co-hosting our third event in the Race, Racism and Racial Equity (R3) Series: ARTivism: Using Arts-based Scholarship to Interrogate and Dismantle Racism on February 24. The panel will focus on how the arts can help us better understand systems of oppression and their impacts, challenge white supremacy, foster dialogue around race and racism, and advance racial equity.
This month is also a perfect time to recognize the contributions of our colleagues, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and intergroup collaborations who have advanced diversity, equity, and inclusion at Carolina and beyond by nominating them for a Diversity Award. The deadline for nominations is February 28.
Finally, as we embrace a new year, new administration, new outlook, and the importance of renewal and change—the UODI has adopted a new look for our newsletter. We hope you enjoy its easier navigation and colorful design.
Sibby Anderson Thompkins, PhD
Special Advisor to the Provost and Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion/
Interim Chief Diversity Officer