Honoring Black excellence


Since its inception, Black History Month has been a celebration of excellence and a reclamation of a purposefully distorted and mythologized history. This month, we celebrate our community — students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends who are resurrecting the past and building a more equitable, anti-racist future together.

Throughout the month you’ll see profiles on, among others, Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Myriam Telus, whose research in cosmochemistry has earned her a NASA Early Career Award, and History Professor Eric Porter, who recently co-edited an exploration of the various ways musical improvisation can be used as a method for responding to crisis. And you’ll learn what first drew Sidney Robinson, a third-year computer science major deeply involved with our campus chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, to the profession.

We’ll also preview major events like “Changing Climate: The Role of Environmental Justice” talk on Feb. 10 with Rhiana Gunn-Wright, as well as our 37th annual MLK Convocation two days later, this year featuring Mariame Kaba, an organizer, educator, curator, and prison industrial complex abolitionist in conversation with Associate Professor of Feminist Studies Gina Dent. 

This month we are also honoring the 30th anniversary of the UCSC African American Theater Arts Troupe in a series of events entitled Honoring our Roots, Uplifting Black Voices from Feb. 19-21. This event marks 30 years of community building, artistic excellence, and public service from the only student African American theater troupe in the UC system. 

Over the past year, we’ve had too many opportunities to write to you in mourning, in pain, and in search of justice. We appreciate having a chance to share a message of celebration for the work, the success, the joy, and the resilience of our community where we believe Black Lives Matter and where we are working hard to live up to our beliefs. We invite you to join one of the many events this month honoring Black life and showcasing the excellence of our colleagues, students, alumni, and friends.