De Anza celebrates African American History Month


Julie Lewis, instructor and department chair of African American studies speaking at the Black History Month event

Thomas Anthony, Staff Reporter

Inventors, artists, activists, leaders. Ordinary citizens. These are the some of the African Americans who have inspired and empowered attendees of the Black History Month celebration held on Feb. 12 at the Media and Learning Center.

The event was not only for celebration, but for reflection and discussion on how the black community has furthered society, and how it will continue to do so.

Many talked about how historic African American figures opened doors, allowing them opportunities that were previously restricted.

“They’ve inspired me, they’ve encouraged me, they’ve created opportunity for me to even be here,” said Caroline Alexander, human sexuality guest speaker.

Attendees of all races spoke of how African American figures have impacted their lives.

“The African American community has paved ways by providing leadership for other communities of color,” said Adriana Garcia, administrative assistant.

The event highlighted the importance of a month that is often overlooked or disregarded by many. Those at the event talked of the need to acknowledge and honor the contributions of African Americans to society.

Elsa Castro
Students and staff at the Black History Month event.

Black History Month is important for educating people about the impact of black individuals and the black community, Alexander said.

“Every time Black History Month comes around the corner, I’m learning new stuff,” said Sabrina Fansey, 21, biology major.

Kassie Phillips, Umoja Program counselor/coordinator talked about what the month meant to her.

“It means reminders, trauma, celebration,” she said. “It means love, it means history, it means my heritage.”

Black History Month is not only about uplifting the black community, said Nmachi Somanya, 19, English major. It is also about “sharing the greatness that’s in my community with people that are not from my community.”

While the celebration helped highlight the important contributions by African Americans to society, attendees pointed out the need to realize that black history is not separate from the rest of history, a fact they said should be remembered throughout the year.

“It’s very necessary to understand that black history is not black history,” said Thomas Asrat, 19, electrical engineering major. “It’s American history. It is world history.”