February 2019 marks the 40th year of Black History Month (BHM) celebrations at the University of Florida. Characterized by lively performances, talks and philanthropy, Black History Month, hosted by UF’s Black Student Union (BSU), powerfully represents black culture at our university.

BHM’s opening ceremony on February 3 focused on the theme Black Renaissance, drawing from the concept of the Harlem Renaissance, which began in 1920. The theme highlighted the impact of the African diaspora on society. BSU’s Florida Invitational Step Show, the largest student-run step show in the southeast region, celebrated its 30th year of competitions on February 16. This high-impact show is highly anticipated each year and draws a crowd of more than 2000.

Fourth-year student and BHM Marketing Chair Ricardo Queen-Bourrows said that through BSU and BHM he “learned the history of black students at UF and the different protests of people who came before him so that he could come to this institution.” He encourages students from various cultures to join in the support of BHM. He noted that UF BHM recognizes the various cultures, such as Afro-Cuban and Afro-Latinx, which are racially black. “Coming [to UF] I learned about different cultures within the black community,” Ricardo said.

If you haven’t made it to any of the events, there’s still time!

Kicking It, a kickball tournament benefiting this year’s philanthropy — the Pace Center for Girls — is scheduled for February 23. The Pace Center for Girls is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving girls through education, counseling, training, and advocacy. BHM’s closing ceremony will be in partnership with Women’s History Month and will take place at the Rion Ballroom on February 26.

The Black Student Union hosts meetings and events all year long. Zsariyah Broughton, the Public Outreach Committee leader for BHM, has found “a tight-knit community” through her involvement in BSU and BHM.

“UF prepares me for society at large because in the real world not everyone is black and not everyone will have the same views as you but [through BHM and BSU] I have been able to see how someone who looks completely different from me may share commonalities,” Ricardo said.

If you’re looking to get involved with some of the diverse cultures at UF, follow the Black Student Union @uf_bsu and @ufbhm for more information and to see the full lineup of Black History Month events.

Highlighted Events:

February 23rd Kicking it with Pace Center for Girls @ the hume field 1-3pm

February 26th Closing Ceremony Rion Ballroom