Madison College Celebrates Black History Month With Community Events

Madison College Celebrates Black History Month With Community Events

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Madison College continues its rise as a premier and progressive institution. Over the past several years, Madison College has grown exponentially not just in terms of enrollment and size, but in terms of influence, scope and presence around the many communities in Madison.

This month, Madison College will participate in several community-based ventures to celebrate Black History Month. While student-led celebrations by the Black Student Association continue this year, Madison College’s Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement will add to the celebration of Black History Month with several events and community partnerships throughout the month of February.

“This year we went a step further and wanted to open some doors and do some things with other community organizations,” says Jimmy Cheffen of Madison College’s Office of Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement. “We want people to start discussing and reflecting on issues important to the community.”

Madison College is working with the Military Resource Fair to bring in Marcia Anderson, who was the first African-American female reserve officer to obtain the rank of major general in the US Army. Anderson will be speaking at Madison College on February 21.

On February 24 the Truax campus will host Martin Luther King’s Principles of Non-Violence Training, which will be provided by the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. It will be a workshop designed to look at King’s approach to nonviolence as a model for sparking social change. The workshop will run from 9am-4pm on Saturday, February 24 in room D1630 at the Truax campus.

Later in the month, Madison Police Officer Corey Saffold will share his perspectives in his presentation, The Paradox of Being a Black Police Officer. This event is part of the Working Lives Project by the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

Officer Saffold has done several of these presentations, and often talks about how an interaction with a police detective when Saffold was a child headed for a delinquent lifestyle wound up changing his life. Since becoming a police officer, Saffold has at times faced backlash even from members of the black community about being a police officer in an era when black teenagers, often unarmed, have been killed by police. Saffold’s presentation discusses those issues and what he views his role as being in the community as an officer of color.

Boys and Girls Club of Dane County CEO Michael Johnson will moderate the discussion with Saffold and members of the community in the atrium of Madison College’s South Campus on Park Street. Saffold’s presentation will be on Tuesday, February 27 from 5:30-6:30 pm.

On February 28 Madison College will partner with the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, along with the Madison Network of Black Professionals and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity for “Art Talk at MMoCA.” Anyone interested will receive a private tour of artwork by prominent African American artists, led by curator Mel Becker Solomon, and enjoy a reception and hands-on activity exploring Sam Gilliam’s techniques.

Madison College has also collaborated with the Wisconsin Film Festival to organize the Director’s Cut Film series, which will show poignant, insightful, and topical films on themes related to diversity, inclusion, and equity.  For this month, Madison College will host a screening and discussion of the film Rwanda and Juliet with the film’s director, Ben Proudfoot.

The screening will be on Thursday, March 1 from 6:30-8pm in the Health Building at Madison College.

Each of these events are free, open to the public, and can be found on eventbrite. Cheffen said that one of the goals of Madison College was to partner with community organizations in order to have a deeper impact and create a welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff.  He says, “That’s one of the priorities of our college. We strive to create a welcoming campus. You can see that in the policies and facilities and new ways we are looking at doing business.”

“We will be doing things like this every month,” Cheffen says. “We’re preparing for Women’s History Month, LGBTQ Month, Hispanic Month, Native American Month and Asian Pacific Islander History Month, and more. We’re excited about all of the events we’re able to organize but none of this would happen without the collaboration with units inside the college and community organizations. We believe it is important to celebrate the achievements of African-Americans and other groups and recognize their role in US history and culture.  Furthermore, it is about community engagement. We want to know the community’s needs and wants and continue to help this be a better place to live.”

Written by Nicholas Garton

Nicholas Garton

Nicholas Garton is a Madison365 graduate and a reporter for Madison365.

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