Black History Month ends with closing ceremonies

By Lauren Eichmann

Students, faculty and community members gathered Tuesday night in the Illini Union for a presentation of short skits showcasing student dance and vocal performances to commemorate Black History Month.

The Black History Month Closing Ceremonies, hosted by the Central Black Student Union, recognized the month’s festivities dedicated to black history and encouraged the celebration and teachings of African-American heritage each year.

“Black history is the key to black future,” said Victoria Ogunsanya, junior in business and hostess of the event. “I feel it’s very essential that people celebrate Black History Month.”

Tuesday night’s closing ceremonies, with more than 100 people in attendance, included performances by the Black Chorus, Soul Essence and a play, whose theme featured a young woman’s journey about making the best choices in regard to her identity and future. Clapping in beat to pianist Chip McNeill and African Drummer Gordan Kay, the crowd enthusiastically cheered on performers and ended in a standing ovation.

Notable University faculty members who have significantly influenced African-American students on campus were also given certificates of recognition at the event.

Alicia Altheimer, sophomore in LAS, said it is important for African-American students and community members to take part in the programs the University offers each February.

“I came (tonight) just to celebrate Black History Month,” Altheimer said.

Amina Marga, sophomore in LAS, said that she wanted to support the event and to watch her friend who was performing. Brandon Evans, senior in LAS, also came to watch the show and to see what the final product looked like. Evans is a member of the Illini Union Board African American Programs Committee, which helped to organize the event.

Overall, Ogunsanya said she was very pleased with the turnout and the student performances. Markea Haywood, junior in ACES, agreed.

“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “The closing ceremonies is a traditional event each year that brings everyone in the community together.”