By Jose Munoz, 2020-2021 SCS Advising Leader:
Black History Month (BHM) is a fantastic time to celebrate a very special global culture. With many contributions to music, art, dance, food, science, medicine, and much more, we take this time of the year to reflect and celebrate the African American community. I have prepared a few easy-to-read flyers for Black History Month of familiar and not-so-familiar faces. The list contains well-known activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and important pioneers such as Afro-Latina Celia De La Caridad Cruz Alfonso who helped developed Salsa! Feel free to expose yourself to these names here on Canva.
Within Champaign-Urbana, several African American-owned businesses can be supported directly thanks to the easing covid guidelines on in-person based organizations. The directory used for Champaign-Urbana can be found here. You will be able to find locations of clothing stores, restaurants, and bakeries within the directory. I would personally recommend visiting “Wood ‘N Hog” and “Nothing Bundt Cakes”. Wood ‘N Hog offers amazing, barbequed food of all types that can be supplemented by a visit to Nothing Bundt Cakes sweet desserts! I have always had respect for the African American community and their history along with every other culture here on campus. Taking time this February to explore local African American-owned businesses has truly enriched my campus experience. I was able to do the same for my friends when I told them there was more to campus than just Green Street.
On-campus, there is also a directory for African American-led organizations that are all-inclusive for students to be able to join. Withing the campus directory are several academic, social, cultural, and professional organizations can be found. An example of an academic empowerment and advancement organization is “100 Strong”. 100 Strong strives towards sharing resources with its members to help students thrive at Illinois. This program is offered by the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (BNAACC) on campus that offers a plethora of workshops as well as social networking opportunities. The National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) is another RSO on the directory known for its professional advancement of its members in networking, interviewing, and job applications. NSBE is also known for its social aspects of getting together for monthly meetings and speakers from large companies. I have fond memories of working with NSBE through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers where different, yet similar perspectives are shared between the communities. This has helped cultivate my appreciation for inter-dependent relationships here on campus.
It is never too late to begin supporting the different cultures located here on campus. Plus, it's super easy to get started with simple google searches taking you to a list of campus organizations. Today I took the time to share resources with you that are relevant to Black History Month, but supporting our peers is a year-round trip! Have fun during the school year and relieve stress by exposing yourself to something different through the many avenues available on campus and locally.