The Multicultural Student Services will hold its annual Black History Month celebration called Perspectives on Friday, Feb. 19 in the WSC ballroom at 7 p.m. The celebration will include several presentations that reflect the African-American culture and its history in the U.S.
Mario Pereyra, Multicultural Student Services cultural programs coordinator, works to get student volunteers involved and to ensure learning and program outcomes are met.
“Perspectives is an event because we have some major learning outcomes that we want to hit and those are culture education and inclusion,” Pereyra said. “One of the biggest reasons why we have cultural programs, is so that people can know more about what it means to be black and what the black culture is because it’s so many different things to many people.”
Derek Trotman, a freshman studying global supply chain management, is an active volunteer for Perspectives and a member of BYU’s Black Student Union. He joined the gospel choir that will perform on Friday. He finds it important to help BYU be a more diverse campus and wants to participate in enriching others with culture.
“The goal for Perspectives is to convey the lives of different cultures of BYU through giving students a different perspective on life, love and freedom,” Trotman said.
He said BYU is not the most diverse campus but it is important to him to stay connected to his heritage and culture because it “provides a sense of belonging, much like a family.”
Like Trotman, Fatma Luka, a freshman majoring in psychology, volunteers for Perspectives because it’s important to her to be involved in a cultural celebration that she considers hers.
“(Multicultural Student Services) teaches us we need to include others and to teach them about culture and I needed to be taught more,” Luka said. “I can’t go out and preach about culture when I don’t live it, so this is one way I connect to my roots. I needed to have an appreciation for myself.”
Luka also said she wanted to be involved to step out of her comfort zone because she had never participated in other cultural events.
The purpose of Perspectives is to give a different view, while including and not excluding other races.
“It’s important to have different perspectives because this world is so large,” Luka said. “We need to have a good communication between cultures to have more respect towards others.”
Student volunteers have become involved with choreography and choir numbers and have also organized the event to ensure education is key when celebrating African-American history.
Pereyra said Perspectives is unique when compared to other Black History Month events because it’s more student-driven and student-focused. He also said students have the opportunity to socialize and “really break down those bridges” with the Perspectives event.
“The really big reason is for inclusion. We want our black students to feel like BYU has a place for them,” Pereyra said. “This is where they belong and this university is theirs. At the same time we also want to be inclusive and open it up to everyone else. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, Latino, Asian, poly, native, or anything; this event is open to anyone to come and learn and have fun.”