News Detail


Black History Month events at a glance

SUNY Cortland will celebrate Black History Month (BHM) throughout February with a series of events that include historical and cultural lectures, panel presentations, a Wheel of Fortune-style competition focused on Black history, a formal masquerade ball, and a discussion of the contributions of Black filmmaker Spike Lee.

SUNY Cortland will open BHM on Thursday, Feb. 1, with its second Abraham Lincoln DeMond 1889 Day, honoring a groundbreaking graduate and enshrining his legacy. Yusuf Muhammad Jr. ’99, M ’01, the principal at Phoenix Academy, an Atlanta school serving underprivileged students, will deliver the keynote speech at 6 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room.

For the remainder of February, BHM campus events will be posted online on the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office webpage. Events are open to the public and free unless otherwise noted. Event changes may occur throughout the month so please check back for the most up-to-date information.

Some of the upcoming events include:

  • Making Shakespeare sexy again. Many students from underrepresented communities who enter the class of SUNY Cortland Assistant Professor of English Willnide Lindor express that their past encounters with William Shakespeare’s plays have left them uninterested in his works due to the lack of diversification among characters and their characterization. Lindor’s discussion, “Making Shakespeare Sexy Again: Pedagogical Approaches to Race and Empire,” will explore how students may rediscover the classic playwright through posing the questions that matter to them. Lindor will speak from 2 to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, in Old Main Colloquium.
    Las Vegas was the theme of last year's Black Student Union formal dance party.

  • Discussing geography of disability. Most research on individuals with communication difficulties has been conducted on the majority-Caucasian, English speaking population, so these investigations may not necessarily be applicable to individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. “It is important to consider this when thinking about individuals with disabilities, specifically those with significant communication difficulties,” said Nimisha Muttiah, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of communication disorders and sciences. On Wednesday, Feb. 7, she will discuss “The Intersection of Disability and Individuals from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds” from 11 a.m. to noon in Corey Union Fireplace Lounge.
  • Microaggressions 101. SUNY Cortland wellness and diversity professionals will team up to let students learn to recognize when they are being targeted with tiny, but emotionally harmful acts of aggression in their daily lives. Lauren Herman Scagnelli ’12, M ’14, a health educator with Conley Counseling and Wellness Services, and Katrina Hodge, assistant director of multicultural life and diversity, will share the basics about microaggressions in their wide variety of identities during “Microaggressions 101,” an informational table in the Student Life Center Lobby from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7. While there, enter a name to win a gift basket.
  • Discussing Race on Zoom. Marcus Croom, an assistant professor of literacy, culture and language at Indiana University Bloomington’s School of Education, will discuss the continued urgency of enhancing the ways in which individuals understand race and its implications for teaching racial literacies in schools. His online critical dialog on racial understanding, titled “If Black Lives Matter at School, then What is Race? with Dr. Marcus Croom,” will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8. Dianne Wellington, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of literacy and a Diversity Faculty Fellow, will facilitate.
  • Black Woman Superhero Complex panel. A panel of speakers will weigh in on what is otherwise known as the “strong Black woman narrative” on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The panel, moderated by Katrina Hodge, assistant director of multicultural life and diversity, will share their perspectives, advise how they navigate through the BWS complex in their lives and in predominately white spaces, and offer suggestions on how to support Black women as they seek to navigate the unrealistic expectations imposed on them. Panelists will include Yolanda Clarke, assistant professor of health; Tracy Hudson, assistant professor of physical education; Eden Strachan, author and founder of Black Girls Don’t Get Love; student Kyrstin White; Natalie Marie Angela Yoder, area coordinator in the Residence Life and Housing Office; and student Kyla Young. The presentation will run from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Old Main Colloquium.
    A student in The Cortland Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.) program interacts with young students in a local school.
  • Analyzing Spike Lee. Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee has a career spanning over 40 years, according to Christopher Ortega ’06, SUNY Cortland associate professor of communication and media studies. Ortega will share his ideas on this popular media giant in a talk titled “Those that’ll tell don’t know, and those that know won’t tell: Spike Lee’s life and career” on Wednesday, Feb.14, in Old Main Colloquium. The lecture runs from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. “Spike Lee’s long career as a filmmaker and provocateur remains impactful on popular culture,” Ortego said. “Spike spent much of his career as an almost singular Black voice in an industry not interested in the stories he wanted to tell. While many Black directors have now joined Lee, it is worth taking some time to look at Spike’s films and how they are still relevant today.”
  • Black women’s health: college disparities. Yolanda Clarke, SUNY Cortland assistant professor of health, will discuss Black Feminist Thought (BFT), as originated by Patricia Hill Collins, in her talk titled “Black feminist thought and the health disparities of Black women at predominantly white colleges and universities” on Thursday, Feb. 15. The lecture, from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. in Corey Union Fireplace Lounge, offers the 30-year-old concept of BFT as a strategic approach to locating and eradicating what is considered by some academics to be a particular barrier to Black women’s health and success in life.
  • Prison letter-writing workshop. The Black Student Union will take time to recognize the injustice experienced by men in the Black community, share their solidarity, and encourage hope by writing letters to incarcerated men from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 19, in Corey Union Voice Office. The Week of Events program is presented in collaboration with Men of Value and Excellence.
  • BHM Wheel of Fortune. The Black Student Union will host a “Black History Month edition” game of “Wheel of Fortune” where participants can showcase their knowledge of Black history. The competition for prizes begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Corey Union, Room 301.

Throughout February, campus community members are invited to take part in the online, interactive 21 Day Anti-Racism Challenge at First launched at SUNY Cortland in 2021, the challenge gives campus community members an opportunity to immerse themselves in Black history and culture with a daily theme and a list of several options for reading, listening or watching. To complete the challenge, individuals may choose at least one activity per day and are welcome to explore more. This year, on Thursday, Feb. 29, members of the Anti-Racism Task Force Multimedia Subcommittee, which started the challenge, will present a sandwich seminar discussion among new and past participants on the program’s impact to date.

Events later in February will be released in the Feb. 20 edition of Bulletin.

Co-sponsorships and funding for Black History Month were made possible by the President’s Office, Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office, SUNY Cortland Alumni Association, Multicultural Life and Diversity Office, Student Government Association, Black Student Union, Men of Value and Excellence, the Anti-Racism Taskforce Multi-Media Sub Committee, the Health Promotion Office, the Provost’s Office, Memorial Library, School of Education, New York State United Teachers, and the departments of physical education, English, health, communication disorders and sciences, literacy, philosophy, communication and media studies, sociology/anthropology, economics, sport management, chemistry and kinesiology.

For more information, contact Charlotte Wade, assistant diversity officer, at 607-753-2975 or in Miller Building, Room 404A.