February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the many important contributions of African Americans and to evaluate our progress in improving equity on campus and beyond. Since 1976, every American president has endorsed a theme for Black History Month. This year’s theme is Black Resistance.

I encourage you to visit the UMass Black History Month web pages, which include a great series of events and resources in celebration of Black history and culture. For example,

On Thursday, February 16, 2023, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m., you can enjoy the amazing Bobby Broom Trio at Bowker Auditorium.

On February 23, March 30, April 27, 2023, at 6:00 p.m., enjoy a fantastic poetry series, Bright Moments Poetry Nights.

Also, check out the recently launched UMass Black Presence website, which serves as a living history of the experiences, contributions, and stories of Black students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Through oral history interviews and research on historical figures, this initiative has begun what will be an ongoing process of capturing stories to provide an authentic and in-depth understanding of lived experiences.

In addition to recognizing achievements, Black History Month also provides an opportunity to assess the university’s effectiveness in addressing racial injustice, and to identify ways that we can, and must, do better.

Towards this end, I invite you to join several important events:

On February 10, at 6:45 p.m. join the information session, “White Allies Against Racism: How to be a Co-Conspirator for Racial Justice.” Led by white students and faculty, this is the first of a series that will support UMass students, faculty, and staff with the tools to dismantle white supremacy.

On Friday, March 31, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., join a Symposium on Anti-Racist Community Engagement. This hybrid (online/in-person) event will feature panels and workshops led byauthors from a forthcoming book on Anti-Racist Community Engagement to be published by Campus Compact in Summer 2023, and members of the New England Equity and Engagement Consortium on civic learning outcomes grounded in racial equity.

There are many ways you can get involved in ensuring that our campus is respectful and inclusive for all. Visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion to learn about and join groups like: The Black Advisory Council, the Building Bridges Initiative, Campus Climate Improvement Grants, and the DEI Student Council, to name just a few.

The Office of Equity and Inclusion also invites you to subscribe to their newsletter for updates on Black History Month as well as other events and opportunities.

Finally, below are links to several additional campus resources relating I hope you will find useful.

College of Natural Sciences Resources:

For university-level resources and activities visit the Office of Equity and Inclusion web site.

Recommended Reading:

Recommended Listening:

Recommended Viewing

I thank you for all you do to build a diverse and inclusive campus.