I’m sure most of you are familiar with our Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center (GBCC), located across from the University Union on campus. But are you aware of all the programs and events organized through the GBCC? One of the biggest events every year falls during February; I’m talking about Black History Month.
WIU has chosen the theme “Black Women in American History and Culture: From Personal Conflict to Global Resolution” for this year’s events. This theme was developed through a university committee consisting of many different campus organizations including the GBCC, the Black Student Association, Cultural Expressions, WIU’s NAACP Chapter, University Housing and Dining Services, the Women’s Center, the Department of African American Studies, University Relations, the Office of Student Activities, and the Office of Conference Events and Services. A representative from each organization or office came together to create a poster and promotions that have been/will be used throughout the month.
The GBCC has planned numerous events throughout the month of February such as the NAACP Masquerade Ball, Black Student Association Heritage Bowl, and the Cultural Expressions Open Mic Show to get Western students involved on campus and to share their passion of the black culture with everyone. Belinda Carr is the director of GBCC and one of her favorite events is the Annual Soul Food Festival, a brunch affair full of southern style cuisine. It is open to not just the university, but to the community as well. “It is a wonderful time for fellowship with others,” Carr said. Another big event is the annual fashion show, “Love the Skin You’re In,” always held in February. The 5th annual fashion show will include male and female models and it is quite a dynamic show.
Carr said the purpose of Black History month is quite simple. “My hopes and desires are that people will take the opportunity to learn more about the African American culture and to interact with the students and the different departments and organizations on campus,” said Carr. She also mentioned that this is a great chance for students to network and build relationships. It is also a great way for the campus community to learn more about diverse cultures.
If you are interested in attending a GBCC event, or learning more about the organization, you can check out their events calendar at http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/gwendolyn_brooks_cultural_center/events.php.