On Friday, February 16, 2018, the Urban Experience Program (UEP) in collaboration with the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (student chapter) hosted their Fourth Annual Black History Month Celebration. This year’s theme was titled “Our City, Culture, and Community” – showing how black culture is celebrated throughout the city of Houston.
Our event started off with an energetic performance by Benerd Smith Jr., Chapter President of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Following the performance, our Keynote Speaker Dr. James L. Conyers, Director of African American Studies Program at the University of Houston, gave an educational and inspirational speech about the life of Carter G. Woodson. He spoke about Woodson’s determination in seeking higher education as a black man in the early nineteen century. Woodson is also known as the man behind the creation of black history month and was one of the first scholars to study African-American history.
We also provided an opportunity for attendees to be informed about events taking place on UH campus and in the Houston area with the hope of them participating in these activities. Jasmine O’Neil, Vice President of the Black Student Union (BSU), discussed their upcoming one-day conference that is being held on UH campus in March. Adanna Ade, who works at Project Row Houses, encouraged everyone to attend their 25th anniversary activities taking place throughout the year. We also mentioned the ongoing art exhibit being featured in the Houston Museum of African American Culture. This exhibit, titled “Over There Some Place”, features the work of eight local artists and pays homage to the African American identity and experience from a southern perspective.
Finally, we had our special guest, Ms. Claudia Corletto, a Houston-native discuss her identity as an “Afro-Latinx Creator” and how it has shaped her career as an activist, writer, DJ, and artist. Based on the feedback from our attendees, they were very satisfied with the quality of the program and found the information presented very enlightening. UEP looks forward to hosting next year’s event with the purpose of educating and encouraging our UH community to celebrate black culture.