February is the month to remember, discuss and celebrate black history. On Feb. 3, Kean University highlighted the start of the month's festivities with the Black History Month Kickoff, which was hosted by the Student Organization of Kean. The kickoff took place in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Atrium from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. and saw plenty of students join in the festivities and prepare for the month.
The theme of this year's Black History Month Kickoff was African Americans and the Right to Vote. To promote this theme, tables were set up with pictures and information that presented the road traveled to give African Americans the right to vote, starting from the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and most recently featuring the Voting Rights Amendment Act in 2014.
Dezarey Williams, a member of the post committee for the Student Organization of Kean, explained why they chose this theme for this year's kickoff.
"People in the African American community didn't have the right to vote, so it's important that we take advantage of having that right," said Williams. "People don't really take [voting] seriously, especially in colleges and in the younger communities, so I feel like it is important that we include it within our events, so that people are aware of it."
The kickoff was not only a chance for people to remember and celebrate African Americans getting the right to vote, but also to promote voting in this day and age as well. There was even a table set up that students could visit throughout the event to learn more about voting, or how to register themselves to vote.
Beyond the theme, there were many other activities for students take part in. After registering for the event, students received yellow, green and red tickets that corresponded with different activities throughout the room. Yellow tickets were for "Shoot for Kobe," green tickets allowed students to build a puzzle and red tickets gave students the chance to Spin the Wheel for a prize, like a t-shirt that said "BAE (Black And Educated)."
Students could also go to the 'I Have a Dream' table, where they were able to decorate a star and dream catcher and place them on a cloud. After a while, the decorations would drop into the bucket below, "catching everyone's dreams." There was also a variety of food for students to enjoy throughout the kickoff, like collard greens, meat skewers and mac and cheese.
The Black History Month Kickoff was just the start of events for the month of February. Students can check Cougar Link to see what other events will follow throughout the month, in celebration of Black History.