By Sally Kate Zaft, Staff Writer
UTC kicked off Black History Month with giveaways and a performance. Monday Feb. 1 begun the start of a month full of events to celebrate culture.
At 12:30 p.m., the Multicultural Center hosted their kick-off event and gave out t-shirts, meal vouchers, and cake for attendees. This was a rare opportunity to interact with others while still abiding by social distancing rules.
Donyea McDermott, a junior at UTC and communications major, was helping at the event on Monday. She gave her insight to how UTC is approaching events during the pandemic.
“Well, I love them first of all. I think they’re really great to have right now. Especially during these times with COVID,” McDermott said. “Being able to have events right now is just perfect.”
Dominique Harris, a junior at UTC, was participating in the event with McDermott and agreed with her thoughts. Harris felt that it is important the university had this event in person due to students being in their dorms more this semester.
At 7 p.m., there was a virtual concert held for students featuring Kofi Mawuko & the Ogya World Music Band.
According to the Tennessee Arts Commission, Mawuko is from Ghana and has many years of experience in African drumming as well as teaching it. This band is based in Chattanooga, and Mawuko was the founder of the group and is the leader as well.
Erin Brown, a sophomore at UTC and exercise science major, attended the kick-off event and shared what Black History Month meant to her.
“For me, Black History Month means representation. I feel like minority groups are so underrepresented just in everything and history classes in school, so it’s just one month that we can be represented and be proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Brown said.
Most attendees, including Brown, felt that UTC was doing a good job with the events planned for this month.
“Especially now there’s so much controversy around it for really no reason, but it’s good to just be able to put that aside for a second, and I think that the university is doing a good job at making sure that it’s highlighted,” Brown said.
Throughout the month, groups such as the multicultural center and spectrum at UTC are offering and exploring different aspects of Black History Month for students. Spectrum will be looking at different black figures twice a week and throughout the month.