Black History Month Events Underway on Campus

by Brenna Zuranski, Public Relations Writer

February is Black History Month, and Cedarville University is offering several ways to celebrate it. Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time to recognize the central role of African-Americans in U.S. history.

Cedarville will host five separate “Listen, Lunch and Learn” lunchtime table discussions from an African-American perspective, led by various members of the faculty and staff. The first discussion took place on February 3, and additional discussions are scheduled for Feb. 10, 13, 24 and March 3 in the Stevens Student Center (SSC) dining hall from 12-1 p.m. 

“Most Christians want to talk about race and ethnicity, but are uncomfortable because it can be a complicated conversation to start,” said Greg Dyson, director of intercultural leadership and organizer of the university’s Black History Month events. “The speakers will provide students and staff advice on how to enter into these tender conversations.”

Scheduled speakers will include Caroline Barnett, assistant professor of nursing; Kenneth Rucker, associate director of career services; Patrick Oliver, director of the criminal justice program; and Dyson.

Current minority students are also calling prospective minority students during “Talk, Munch and Movie” events, where they’ll answer questions about Cedarville University and encourage prospective students to visit. After making calls on Feb. 7, Cedarville students were treated to pizza and a movie night, where they watched “The Climb.” A second calling night is planned for March 28, and “Remember the Titans” will be shown. There are several current students on campus as a result of last year’s calling efforts, Dyson shared.

There will also be a time of faculty/staff prayer and praise on February 13 and March 1 in the lower level of the SSC from 1-1:30 p.m.

“For the last three years, Cedarville has scheduled unique prayer opportunities for faculty and staff to come together and focus on certain things that are happening around the country,” said Dyson. “For the month of February, we want to direct our prayers toward multicultural concerns.”

Dyson also encourages people to visit multicultural and African-American churches, such as St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Springfield; Cornerstone Baptist Church in Wilmington; All Nations Bible Fellowship in Dayton; First Baptist Church in Yellow Springs; and First Baptist Church in London, where Dyson serves as pastor.

“Theology is one of the biggest divides I see between races,” said Dyson, “which is why I want to encourage people to visit a church that’s more multicultural so we can close that gap and address theological concerns together.”

On March 25, Dyson also planned for a group to visit the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center (NAAMCC) in Wilberforce. Dr. Charles Wash, NAAMCC director, will present a historical view of Wilberforce and its significance to Ohio African-American history.

Dyson hopes that through these opportunities, questions will be answered and unity will be developed. 

“I’m thankful that [Cedarville president] Dr. [Thomas] White gives me the freedom to explore racial nuances so we can be made more like the body of Christ,” said Dyson.

For more information about these opportunities visit http://blogs.cedarville.edu/interculturalupdate/2017/731/ or email Greg Dyson at gdyson@cedarville.edu.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,760 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.