Feb 012011
Authors: Courtney Riley

For Danielle McConnell, Black History Month is more than a time to celebrate her heritage; it’s a time to reflect on her history and learn more about her roots.

Her dedication to that heritage carries through to her position as president of Black Definition, the student organization responsible for promoting Black History Month, which started Tuesday and runs through the end of February.

“Black History Month gives African Americans the ability to recognize how far we’ve come,” the junior communications major said. “We can embrace what got us to where we are.”

With all the events Black Definition puts on, McConnell’s position as president makes February one of the busiest months of the year as she makes sure the events are successful. It’s fitting work, though, because it combines her passions for communication and working with people.

“I’m very passionate about people,” she said. “Whether they’re my close friends or just people around me at school, I take the time to talk to them and check up on them.”

She said her friends are the support system in her life, which is why she cares about them so much.

Gabrielle Ohaya, a junior communications major, has been a friend to McConnell since their freshman year of high school. She is the secretary and public relations advocate for Black Definition.

Ohaya shares McConnell’s excitement for the month because of their common heritage.

“Black history is technically American history,” she said. “We can actually celebrate the part that’s left out of history books and focus on the positive aspects, even if it’s negative.”

Raven-Olivia Kellum, a junior criminal justice major and fellow Black Definition member, said she learns something new every year during Black History Month.

“I get to see the advancement that my ancestors have brought,” she said. “Each event is different; there is something new at every one.”

Although Black History Month is one month out of the year, McConnell said it’s important to acknowledge it year-round.
“We need to celebrate it every day and acknowledge that we didn’t get here on our own,” Kellum said.

Staff writer Courtney Riley can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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