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Black History Luncheon encourages open dialogue

Last updated on March 18, 2015

by Cynthia Hernandez// Staff Writer

The Volunteer State Community College Campus invited students, faculty and staff to attend the Black History Luncheon last Wednesday, Feb. 25.

The event took place at 12:30 p.m. in the Mary Cole Nichols Carpeted Dining Room (CDR).

The event featured Dr. Joelle Carter as the keynote speaker and recognized members of the Vol State community for their excellence.

The event began with a speech by Ashlyn Challenger, president of the African American Student Union (AASU).

Carter was introduced by Heather Harper, director of Retention Support.

Dr. Carter was appointed as Western Kentucky University’s first assistant vice-president for Retention Support Services . . . (she) has received several awards and acknowledgements for her contribution to higher education and development fields,” said Harper.

Carter said she encouraged open dialogue as she explained the relevance of celebrating Black History Month at this moment in time.

Carter said the purpose of celebrating black leaders, athletes and actors during this month is because “these people were a lot of the firsts; groundbreakers… how we make meaning of what they did, means for us, is the reflection and conversation,î said Carter.

It does symbolize a history of freedom, equality, and just, is denied. It happened. It happened and guess what? That’s ok. How do we grow? What’s the next step?”

Carter said what it came down to was, “strong lessons of leadership, community and love… that love, that respect, that humility, of just, a person. Good grief.

Who am I to say that you’re not beautiful, and you don’t deserve to be respected, and that I should look at you some kind of way or treat you in some… I mean, it is not my place,” said Carter.

Awards were given to Carter and Vol State’s “homegrown heroes” which included Dr. Carole Bucy, professor of history; Mary Malone, Retention Support Services; and James Story, chair of the department of performing and visual arts.

Bucy was awarded by Jasmine Cook, a Vol State student.

Cook said Bucy has been a professor of history at Vol State for many years.

[Bucy] is a speaker, writer, researcher and philanthropist and has been active in promoting African American heritage throughout the region,î said Cook.

Malone was awarded by Andrea Boddie, director of Student Support Services (SSS).

Boddie said Malone is currently a Trio SSS Counselor, was born and raised in Sumner County and graduated from Union High School, Sumner County’s first African American high school.

Boddie also said Malone has worked in the Sumner County school system as a counselor and a teacher for 31 years and co-authored two books; Generations and African-American Life in Sumner County.

Story, the final recipient, was awarded by Pedro Martinez, Vol State advisor/counselor.

Martinez said that Story is a professor of music and department chair of visual and performing arts, directs the choir at First United Methodist Church, presents at international conferences, and has taught music in the Sumner County school system since 1977.

Martinez also said that Story and has also produced over 100 stage productions throughout his career and was recently nominated for the Music Educator Award presented by the Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation, of which he received ninth place.

Honestly, I liked the whole thing, especially the speaker. I like when she talked about what we can do to interact with each other throughout the year,î said sophomore Tamara Thrower.

ìMy favorite part was the speaker Öshe really does have a dynamic personality, said Matteen Mansoori, Vol State student.

“Those of us that continue to engage in these conversations will be the individuals that conduct the action to make change. It’s not about the month. It’s about the competencies we possess to make this place better than it was, when we were here,” said Carter.

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