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By Courtney Weldon, MMM 2021
Executive Director, Black History Month, FT BMA

The Full-Time Black Management Association at Kellogg would like to welcome you to BMA Week 2021, February 15-19th!  We have been celebrating all Black History all month and will continue to do so all year, but over the next two weeks, we have a concentrated set of events to share our history and culture with you.

We have been so grateful to celebrate the accomplishments of Black business leaders and re-imagine racially equitable futures with the growing BMA-ally community at Kellogg over the last year.

After an eventful 2020, we decided to focus Black History Month programming in three key areas: culture, community and justice to really keep the content both grounding and engaging, despite our virtual/hybrid environment. We’re so encouraged by the number of opportunities to co-create with other student organizations for many of these events, and we hope everyone who has the opportunity to join us enjoys!  The link to register for events can be found at the bottom of this post.

For justice and equity

The week will start with conversations about how we, as Kellogg students, but more importantly, as leaders in business, can and must establish our journeys as champions of racial equity and anti-racism.

We kickoff with a visit from Myron “Pauly” Jackson and Letetra Wideman, siblings of Jacob Black and Evanston, Ill. natives, to share with us how they, as a family, are healing from public tragedy. They will share what gives them hope while healing and how this unfortunate event has inspired them to seek more public positions as activists against police brutality and systemic racism that has plagued the Black community long before what happened to their brother on August 23, 2020. This sit-down between them and BMA VP Jenieri Cyrus will be both educational and inspiring.  It will take place on Monday, February 15 at 5:30 p.m. CT.

On Tuesday, February 16 at 5:15 p.m. CT, in collaboration with the Kellogg Christian Fellowship, we will host Kellogg professor and assistant pastor of the Aposotlic Church of God in Chicago, Dr. Nicholas Pearce, for a fireside chat on the history of racism and the Christian faith. We will probe his thoughts as a leader in both Christianity and diversity, equity and inclusion in the history of the Black church and tensions that have existed for people of Christian faith, the Black race, or both.

Our Keynote, Ekpedeme “Pamay” M. Bassey, is brought to you by the Evening & Weekend BMA’s Black Leadership Series on Thursday, February 18 at 5:00 p.m.  Pamay is an award-winning, bold and creative leader who serves as the chief learning and diversity officer at the Kraft Heinz Company. She will be bringing her expertise to share with Kellogg in the form of a fireside chat on leading with emotional intelligence while handling difficult situations, facing bias, and being “the only” minority group member or ally on your team. You can learn more about her at our Campus Groups event link.

Small group activities have always been essential to the Kellogg community to foster connection and get to know fellow students on a deeper level. This has been more important than ever through the pandemic, with limited access to people and in-person events.  So, on Friday, we will host a set of small group talks titled, “Where Do We Go From Here?” where Kellogg students can reflect on everything they have learned and experienced not just this week, but more importantly, this year, and continue to develop and iterate on their anti-racism journeys with support and influence from friends and peers. These talks will start at 5:15 p.m. CT.

For the culture and community

In addition to educating and inspiring change through social justice, BHM and BMA Week is a time for us to let the Kellogg Community into our culture a bit more. So, we have a few traditional Kellogg events layered with Black culture through food and arts.

Typically, we host a series of food-related events for BHM: “Cooking with BMA” are small group dinners with themes of comfort from across the African Diaspora. There’s also “Taste of Soul,” a large tasting event featuring Black-owned businesses at Kellogg. Both of these events are our twist on Kellogg’s traditional small group dinners and Friday evening TG happy hours.

This year, due to the need to add more restrictions to gatherings, we are combining those events to host a virtual cooking class. “Taste of Soul featuring Chef JJ, founder of FieldTrip USA” will take place on Wednesday, February 17 at 5 p.m. CT. Chef JJ is best known for connecting the cuisines of West Africa and Asia to the Americas. We are so excited to experience the menu he’s curated just for us!

On Tuesday, February 23, we will host “Hear My Story: The African Diaspora.” Expressing one’s life experiences through rhythmic speech known as spoken word is a rich tradition for black people. Hear My Story is a very popular tradition at Kellogg, where a group of students come together on the basis of a theme through which they share their life stories. This event will bring those two traditions together. At Kellogg, we have Black American, African, and Caribbean cultures represented. This Hear My Story will be an opportunity to showcase the uniqueness, as well as the connection of, experiences across countries and continents.

We will officially end the month of celebrations with the 5th annual “Night at the Apollo” Talent Showcase!  At this event, we pay homage to the “Amateur Night” at The Apollo Theatre in NYC where many of everyone’s favorite Black vocalists, poets and dancers got their start as far back as the 1930s. This year, in an effort to bring more engagement to the community, we will be adding a section competition where our class sections can earn points for members’ performances, as well as videos like “What Black History Means to Me” or an intro to a sectionmate’s Black-entertainment-inspired performance. We’ll be bringing “Show time at the Apollo” to student living rooms in honor of the show many BMA members grew up on.

We have worked really hard to bring a diverse set of programming that is both educating and inviting for the Kellogg Community, and we hope you join us!

All events can be found at our Black History Month Tag on Campus Groups!