By Aaliyah Patel
At Rider, Black History Month is celebrated through a month-long series of events consisting of culturally enriching presentations that highlight the Black community. This year students were given the opportunity to learn about Black culture through deep discussions and history-centered events.
Some of the organizations that hosted events throughout Black History Month include the Nu Eta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Tau Kappa chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Black and Hispanic Alliance, the Black Student Union (BSU) and L.O.C.K.S., a hair club.
However, events that were set to take place from Feb. 16 to Feb. 27, were canceled after a Zoom bombing occurred on Feb. 11. The meeting was held by the historically Black sororities, Chi Alpha chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and the Tau Kappa chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Intruders used both verbal and written racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Laeuna Chisolm, a senior psychology major and Student Government Association (SGA) equity and inclusion chair shared the importance of continuing to host these events at a future date.
“In terms of non-Black students, I would want them to be educated at these events and leave with a token for them to use later on after these events. Even when interacting with other Black students, so that everyone can have a safe and comfortable environment on campus. This would be a chance for them to see what their Black peers endure every day and how they feel here at Rider,” Chisolm said.
For future events on Zoom, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) requires that Zoom links for programs are attached directly to the registration of that event.
“It definitely invaded a safe space, especially for black women on campus. For me personally, I think from what I’ve seen from myself and other students that 50% is trying to heal from the situation and treading lightly and the other 50% is like, ‘Those bombers aren’t going to get the best of us and we will prevail,’” Chisolm said.
On Feb. 8, in conjunction with the administration, the BSU experienced a milestone in the flag raising that occurred in front of the Moore Library. The rising of the Black Lives Matter flag was significant to the Rider community.
Pamela Pruitt, the executive director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, shared how the stricter guidelines will ensure safety during future events.
“CDI has been following any protocols by inactivating the annotation feature, requiring registrations, trolling the chat for disruptors and using waiting rooms,” Dr. Pruitt said.
These events have allowed the Black community at Rider to express themselves and students are encouraged to look out for the new dates for the canceled events.
Published in the 02/24/21 issue of The Rider News.