Harris Billings, Staff Writer
February 12, 2016
As the room filled with clapping and people singing “Jesus is a biscuit, let him sop you up,” I knew I was in for a great night.
Last week, the Multicultural Education Department — with catering provided by the CCE Student Government Association — kicked off their celebration of Black History Month with an open mic night.
The event, which took place from 7-9 p.m. Feb. 5, allowed students to mingle and show off their talents to each other in a relaxed and friendly environment.
“I just felt comfortable,” said first-year Veronica O’Neill. “The atmosphere was super laid back and easygoing, and it definitely encouraged me to get up there. Everyone was just laying back and talking to each other. I really liked it.”
Though the evening had a slow start, the night soon picked up as people began performing. Students played guitar, sang, performed original songs and at one point even got up on stage as a big group to dance, tell jokes and sing about how “Jesus is a biscuit.”
“It was very goofy and silly,” said sophomore Sam Bernhardt. “There wasn’t so much real performing, more so people just having fun. I haven’t played in front of people in a while, so it was weird, but I had a good time. I just want to see more things like this on campus.”
Whenever the audience wasn’t too busy watching someone on stage, the room was full with conversation, laughter and happy faces. More than anything else, there was an overwhelming sense of community.
“We wanted to bring in things we thought everybody on campus would be able to enjoy and open up to everyone on campus,” said Amber Echerd, organizer of the event and secretary of the CCE student government association and CCE student. “We wanted to have an activity where our students could just kickback and have a little fun. That way everyone can come out and mingle and meet new friends on campus.”
This evening marked the beginning of the MED’s month-long celebration of Black History Month with events planned all throughout the month of February.
“We know that we should be celebrating black history on a constant basis,” said Irving Zavaleta Jimenez ‘08, assistant director for multicultural education. “However, we also understand that Guilford is at a critical moment, and we want to help continue that momentum. We want to provide a space for everyone to feel connected, which is why tonight we have a really relaxed, fun, welcoming and liberating event.”
As part of the event, the MED encouraged students to post photos at the month’s events with the hashtag #GCMED16, which they hope will help promote the activities.
“We believe that the movement should be centered on those who have been oppressed and how we can incorporate our white allies into the liberation space,” added Zavaleta Jimenez. “Throughout the month we are going to have events that will have space to (come together and feel connected), as well as to have deeper and perhaps uncomfortable discussions.”
The MED has posted flyers all around campus advertising all of the upcoming events which include seminars, movie screenings, group discussions, guest-speakers and workshops.
“We have a lot of things happening on campus with the big issue of race going around,” said Echerd. “We are trying to let people know that we aren’t going to stand for racism.”
Though it did not have the greatest turnout, the MED’s open mic night proved to be a relaxing and enjoyable evening, one which brought everyone in attendance together for a good time.
Overall, it was a great way to start our campus’s celebration of Black History Month.