The Africana Center, located on 310 Triphammer Road.

Michaela Brew / Sun Senior Editor

The Africana Center, located on 310 Triphammer Road.

January 30, 2020

Black Students United to Hold Black History Month Opening Ceremony

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Moving away from its usual opening ceremony of games and trivia events, members of Black Students United will kick off the decade and Black History Month with reflection, attempting to connect the past with the future with a reformed ceremony on Friday.

The event, held at the Africana Research and Studies Center, will focus on the theme of “black excellence,” according to BSU events coordinator Jalen Wise ’22, who said the purpose for the opening ceremony is to allow students to express the impactful stories they have acquired while at Cornell.

The event will begin with a presentation on major events that have shaped black culture, such as dances, clothes and movements like Black Lives Matter.

Afterwards, attendees will help create a time capsule — named “The Box ” after the song by rapper Roddy Ricch — which will be filled with items that represent their experiences at Cornell.

“The song has a big cultural impact right now,” Wise said, explaining the time capsule’s name. “It’s the number one song in the country. It’s kind of like solidifying black history and black music.”

Henderson adds that the name is also an allusion to the ancient Greek myth of Pandora’s box. According to Greek mythology, the box contained only evils inside, but when Pandora opened the box, she released these evils, leaving hope within the box.

While “Pandora’s box has a negative connotation … [It] brought bad but also some good,” said William Henderson ’22, one of the event’s planners, on how the time capsule is meant to embrace both the positive and negative.

This ceremony is just the beginning of the monthlong celebrations. Throughout February, BSU will introduce various themes that celebrate black achievement, such as “black excellence for self,” “black in business,” “black in society” and “black in community.” Each theme will incorporate its own events, from professional development workshops to a special speaker recognizing Martin Luther King Jr.

While the event remembers the accomplishments in this century, “the box” symbolizes future accomplishments, with the time capsule intended to be opened twenty years later.

“[The event is] looking towards the future — the next 10 years,” Henderson said. “That’s what we want to bring, since 2020 isn’t looking so great so far.”

This ceremony is just the beginning of the monthlong celebrations. Throughout February, BSU will introduce various themes that celebrate black achievement, such as “black excellence for self,” “black in business,” “black in society” and “black in community.” Each theme will incorporate its own events, from professional development workshops to a special speaker recognizing Martin Luther King Jr.

While the event remembers accomplishments in this past century, “the box” symbolizes future accomplishments, with the time capsule intended to be opened twenty years later.