Gannon University’s Politics & Pints monthly political event will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday and will focus on celebrating and educating students about Black History Month.
Dubbed “The African-American History Edition,” the event, which will have trivia, prizes and free food, will seek to celebrate and educate students on the importance of Black History Month, as well as the history of the African-American community in American history.
The observance, which first occurred in 1970, dedicates the entire month of February in the United States to the recognition and celebration of important people and events that have taken place in the history of African diaspora.
Jeffrey Bloodworth, Ph.D., who hosts the monthly event, said he was proud of the opportunity to partner with the Black Student Union and was looking forward to the discussion that will be held.
“The Black Student Union will be co-leading a discussion about black history and African-American life in Erie and at Gannon,” Bloodworth said.
According to Bloodworth, this event will hopefully be a good starting point to begin “bending the arc of a moral universe toward justice.”
“African-American history is American history,” Bloodworth said.
“It has included the good, the bad and the ugly; we still have racial divides that are rooted in our past and have become institutionalized yet recognizing and discussing our history is important, and this event will be a fun way to learn about black history and talk about politics and race in a safe space,” Bloodworth said.
The event, which will be co-hosted by the School of Public Service & Global Affairs and the Black Student Union, will seek student engagement, said Arrielle Cook, a junior nursing major, who is also a co-chair of the student group.
“This will be fun for students to come and enjoy,” Cook said. “We don’t want this event to have people thinking that we’re trying to discuss in-depth materials; we want it to be more current and students to feel like they are free to talk about the topic with us,” Cook said.
Cook further said that she hopes to not only partner with PSGA again the future, but to also see students leave the event more informed on the topics discussed.
“At the end of the day, I hope students leave with a piece of information that they didn’t already know about,” Cook said. “I want students to feel like they can have an opinion and not be judged for saying anything.”
For students planning on attending and participating, they are excited that both the PSGA school and the Black Student Union are partnering for the occasion.
Claudia Herrero, a sophomore public service and global affairs major, echoed that opinion.
“Politics and Pints does a great job at helping other clubs and associations bring forth topics that they would like to discuss in a safe environment,” Herrero said. “I think that teaming up with BSU is a great idea to celebrate and promote Black History month.”
Other students asked about their thoughts on the topic agreed that it was valuable to be talking about the historical significance of Black History Month, and how it impacts our society now.
Devin Williams, a sophomore pre-med-biochemistry and mathematics major, said he felt it was important to discuss such a major topic and would be overall beneficial.
“American history has come such a long way, and it’s really important to dive into different sections, especially because this has prevalence today,” Williams said. “I feel that students will be able to share their thoughts and feelings regarding this experience and take away something unique.”
Nathan Manion, a sophomore political science major, believes this event will help students appreciate the importance of Black History Month.
“I think it will be informative for people to celebrate Black History Month,” Manion said.
Kyla McNulty, a sophomore public service & global affairs major, said that in such a divisive world, talking about the past as well as current events will help people come together.
“I think it’s just really important to be talking about this stuff,” McNulty said. “There’s something to be gained by being better informed on history and the issues we are dealing with as a society.”
Josh Staley, a sophomore political science major, said that this event is a major breakthrough.
“It’s incredibly important that this mont’s Politics & Pints is on Black History Month,” Staley said.
“It will give a chance for our student body to learn about the importance and history of the month, and will reinforce why we need it,” Staley said.