On Monday, February 20, 2017, the Urban Experience Program (UEP) in collaboration with the University’s Black Alumni Association sponsored their third annual Black History Month celebration. This year’s theme was power – empower students through knowledge to be engaged in the political process. The event’s Keynote Speaker, UH Professor Dr. Gerald Horne opened the event by speaking to the audience about the importance of youth being informed and engaged with politics. He poignantly asked, “What kind of future are we going to have if young people aren’t involved?”
While the audience enjoyed the evening’s performing arts competition, they also had the opportunity to register to vote with UEP’s Graduate Assistants. The competition featured a variety of talented UH students vying for the cash prize for either first place, second place, or audience favorite. Judges were looking for performers that really drove home the event’s theme of power, from musical selections to original works of art. In between performances, the audience viewed clips from the Netflix documentary, 13th. The film explores the intersection of justice, race, and mass incarceration in the United States. As the audience viewed the alarming statistics and trends, UEP student host, Dalinda Oliver, reminded the crowd the importance of taking action in regards to policies and practices that directly impact young people of color.
Prior to awarding the competition winners, the event’s second special guest, Black Lives Matter Houston founder, Ashton P. Woods offered closing remarks. He challenged students to get active in politics and connect with the other activists they meet. He commented on the importance of having a community of solidarity as the efforts for political change can be slow and sometimes disappointing. Data from the event’s post-survey shows attendees were very satisfied with the quality of the program and found the information presented very useful.
About the Urban Experience Program (UEP)
UEP is a program is a student success program that offers a holistic approach to advising. We provide opportunities for the university’s diverse student population by preventing minor obstacles from becoming major setbacks to degree achievements.