By: Connie Klimek
The Titan Success Center, along with the Black Student Union and the Civil Rights Heritage Center, invites students to grab some popcorn and learn about local resources to support and celebrate the Black and African American community in South Bend as they host, “Black History is American History” on Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Fireside A.
Recently hired, Jessycka French, African American/Black and Multiracial Student Support Specialist, in the Titan Success Center prompted the creation of this event to celebrate African American and Black culture. French’s role is focused on creating a sense of belonging to Black and African American students on the IU South Bend campus. The “Black History is American History” event is centered around showcasing several faculty members’ knowledge and community organizations’ resources to enhance the experience of Black and African American students at IU South Bend.
Six presenters will be set up in Fireside A, each at their own table, to share their individual insight and resources. Students are encouraged to speak with each individual presenter or if they are short on time, whichever presenter resonates with them the most. This event is structured to accommodate student luxury and promote a conversational environment.
The six presenters are: 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend, National Coalition of 100 Black Women, South Bend Area Chapter, Inc., faculty member Dr. Theo Randall, Social Action Project director, Dr. Dé Bryant, IU South Bend’s Black Student Union and the Civil Rights Heritage Center.
The Titan Success Center is passionate about inclusivity on campus, and once they realized there were not many on-campus events to celebrate Black History Month, they decided to take action and create the “Black History is American History” celebration.
Titan Success Coaches, French and Erica Cannady strive to celebrate IU South Bend’s Black and African American students, staff and faculty not only during Black History Month but throughout the entire year.
“Black history is not a month to me; it’s my life. It’s every day. Black history is every day. I think it’s very important for us to share our culture, to share our understanding, so that more people will learn and appreciate us just like we are, and we’re not different,” said French.
Cannady comments that the Titan Success Office’s goal is to support all students. As the staff support leader for the Black Student Union, she is passionate about creating an inclusive environment to support Black and African American students, an environment which celebrates multicultural backgrounds.
French seeks to bring awareness to other cultures by focusing on promoting culture and student comfortability and connection to the university. In authoring a monthly newsletter, Melanin Minute, French showcases students, staff and faculty members’ cultures while sharing events, reminders and the latest happenings in the Black and African American community.
French is excited to promote and showcase even more students on her platform, Melanin Minute.
Stepping into her new role at IU South Bend, French looks forward to hosting more events to facilitate students’ sense of belonging and knowing that they are appreciated.
“You are meant to be here,” said French. For those interested in Melanin Minute, visit https://go.iu.edu/4iDL.
Photo // Mindy Strayer
Photo // Erica Cannady