April Marvin, Staff Writer
BSU Advisor Jerrard Wheeler works on his painting for Black History Month while welcoming students to the event. Photo//April Marvin
On Monday, UM-Dearborn’s Black Student Union (BSU), along with the Center for Social Justice and Inclusion (CSJI) and Student Activities Board (SAB), hosted a painting party to honor Black history and give students a way to celebrate this important month.
The event was set up in Kochoff C, complete with canvases, paints, brushes, snacks, and inspiring ideas for students to get creative. The event was planned as a safe space for students to use these artistic mediums to celebrate, bring peace, and create a sense of community for Black History Month and beyond.
BSU’s advisor, Jerrard Wheeler, who is also the Intercultural Program Manager in the Center for Social Justice and Inclusion, said these events are important not only for social fun but in fostering mental health for students.
Wheeler says they have two more painting events planned this semester: “A celebration of Women’s History Month in March and a mental health painting party that can help students de-stress while boosting educational value and creating a sense of community on campus.”
Monday’s event was a positive celebration that aimed to include all students. “You don’t have to be Black to acknowledge the contributions of Black people,” says Wheeler.
It was important to the groups involved in Monday’s event to honor the storied history of Black communities during this month, but Wheeler remarks, “It doesn’t have to be heavy…this is a space we created where people can tap into the positives of the Black community.”
Student Simone Dixon worked on her painting using colors inspired by the Black community alongside Wheeler, as other participants laughed and enjoyed music.
“[This event was] a good chance to connect with other students on campus while doing important things for Black history,” said Dixon.
Simone Dixon working on her painting. Photo//April Marvin
The entire event was filled with good vibes. Students celebrated and upheld peace and positivity in support of Black History Month. SAB Event Chair Gayathri Chava completed a painting of the Black Power fist incorporating vibrant colors, while emphasizing the importance of this month on campus.
Gayathri Chava shows off her colorful work of art. Photo//April Marvin
Chava extended an open invitation to all students this Thursday to join a keynote discussion on the Black experience which will be held in the University Center, Room 1227 from 1-3 PM.
This month is a time to honor Black history, and events like these are there to provide students a way to celebrate on campus. Wheeler says, “No matter who you are or where you’re from, you too can celebrate Black history.”