Encouragement and education were on the agenda at the open house hosted by the UMKC Black Studies program.
The open house, held at the Black Studies house at 53rd and Holmes St., started with a reception where students and faculty could eat food and mingle. The reception was followed by a series of presentations by Black Studies professors.
The main purpose of the event was to reach out to students who are interested in the Black Studies graduate and undergraduate programs.
Dr. Adrienne Hoard, director of the Black Studies program, welcomed guests and prospective students.
“The Black Studies Program has all the critical information that you need to know about African descent people, African people in the world, African American, Afro-Carribean, Afro-Latin. . . We have the information for you, and we can put it into critical context for you,” Hoard said. “Now then, the work is on you. How do you use this information? How do you make it relate to your life? And how does it become a part of who you are? The challenge is with you. We’re here, we’re hoping that you’re going to come learn with us, but the challenge is up to you.”
Hoard was followed by Dr. Veronica Wilson-Tagoe, who presented the undergraduate program.
“What’s interesting about the Black Studies minor and the BLA emphasis is that we offer four excellent core courses designed to ground students in contextual and theoreical foundations of African American Studies,” Wilson-Tagoe said.
Wilson-Tagoe was followed by Dr. Clovis Semmes, who presented the graduate program and also encouraged students to spread the word about the program.
“These are world-class scholars that you can learn a lot from, and UMKC is lucky to have them,” Semmes said.
The program ended with a statement by T. Monette Lartey, an artist whose Kwanzaa piece, “Principles of Blackness” hangs on the second floor of the Black Studies house.