It’s February, and Andrews University’s annual celebration of Black History Month has once again begun. Various programs commemorating black achievement and culture have been scheduled by both the Division of Student Life and student organizations to take place throughout the month.
“Take a Knee: Prayer, Protest & Promise,” is this year’s theme for Black History Month at Andrews. Debbie Weithers, Associate Dean for Student Life and Diversity, stated that discussions and programs sponsored by the Division of Student Life will mainly focus on Andrews University students’ responses as Adventist Christians to current events. Weithers noted that key questions Andrews administration hopes its students ponder during Black History Month is “How should we respond? How will we respond? We must integrate prayer with our protest and political engagement.”
As a part of the Black History Month, there will be a special chapel on Feb. 9 in Pioneer Memorial Church, featuring Jaime Kowlessar, Senior Pastor of Dallas City Temple Adventist Church in Dallas, Texas.
According to the Andrews Agenda, Kowlessar “began his ministry at City Temple in 2013. After completing his undergraduate studies in theology at Atlantic Union College and his Master of Divinity at Andrews University, Kowlessar spent the first six years of his ministry in his native New York City. He has served as both a youth and young adult pastor as well as leading a church of his own in Long Island, New York.”
Deliverance Mass Choir (DMC) will also be performing during Feb. 9’s chapel celebrating Black History Month.
Olivia King, the Director of DMC, said “It’s an honor to be a part of a program that highlights and recognizes the amazing achievements that black people have accomplished. The fact that DMC can showcase their style of worship to remind people that God loves all types and styles of worship is wonderful.”
Esther Battle (senior, sociology), a DMC soprano, said, “I’m so excited we’re able to bring a black style of worship to the chapel stage. Black History Month chapel is always one of my favorite chapels of the year!”
In light of this chapel, many students responded positively to both the Division of Student Life and various student organizations’ plans to celebrate Black History Month.
Uchenna Nwakanma (senior, health sciences) said, “Well, for one thing, I feel honored and proud to be part of a student community that recognizes and celebrates the achievements of some of our ancestors, the humanity that existed in them, and the courage that kept their fire burning.”
David White (junior, fitness) said, “Black History Month is a great way to get informed on African-American history and their contributions to the creation of America. I think that is important to understand how much blacks are struggled, yet persevered in an environment that did not want them to succeed.”