By: Moriah McDonald, for Lake Union Herald
From February 4 to 27, 2021, Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, will celebrate Black History Month with activities, speakers, and events. Black History Month honors — and raises awareness of — the accomplishments of people of African descent.
The theme of this year’s Black History Month is “Rise.” Inspired by Maya Angelou’s literary work “Still I Rise,” this theme will explore ways to rise in the face of injustice, oppression, uncertainty, trauma, and grief. The theme will also celebrate how members of the Black community have risen throughout the years, Michael Nixon, vice president for Diversity & Inclusion at Andrews University, said. “We invite our entire campus community to join us in this powerful celebration of the Black diaspora as we highlight the ways we have risen in the past, are currently rising up, and look forward to rising in the future,” he said.
The first event, Black History Month Chapel, takes place on February 4 at Pioneer Memorial Church. Black Student Christian Forum (BSCF) Spirit Week takes place February 1-5. Then, throughout the month, Impact Vespers services will be held on Fridays. Short courses on Tuesdays will present the film series Black Boys and include a presentation on the Black church by Rodney Palmer, assistant professor of religion at Andrews University.
Claudia Allen will serve as the keynote speaker for two of the main events. She will explore the theme “Rise” for Impact Vespers on February 5 and Celebration Sabbath on February 6, at the Howard Performing Arts Center.
Allen earned her bachelor’s degree in English and minor in leadership from Andrews University. She also received a master’s degree from Georgetown University and completed a certificate program in theology and racialized policing with Sojourners and the Howard University Divinity School. Her “Change Project” for the Undergraduate Leadership Program involved a successful implementation of an African American Studies minor at the Andrews University Department of History & Political Science.
Allen serves as an international public speaker, headlining events at numerous universities, churches, and organizations. In 2020 her virtual speaking events included audiences from across the United States, South Africa, Ireland, and Australia.
Currently, Claudia works as the online content manager for Message magazine. Through her co-hosted podcast titled What’s the Message? Claudia has interviewed several distinguished guests, including Shaun King, Gayle Fisher-Stewart, Jim Wallis, William Lamar IV, Carlton P. Byrd, and Lisa Bowens.
As a writer, Allen engages with faith, culture, and justice in religious and non-religious magazines and journals. She is a contributing author to Gayle Fisher-Stewart’s latest book, Preaching Black Lives Matter, and Maury Jackson and Nathan Brown’s forthcoming book A House on Fire: Why Anti-Racism Is an Adventist Imperative. Her upcoming book, ACTIVATE: Finding the Savior in Social Justice, details her passion for encouraging activism.
Other Black History Month events include Blackventist Praise and Black Like Me (Growing Up Black). For more information about Black History Month and to see a full schedule of events, visit the Andrews University events page.
The Howard Performing Arts Center is an 850-seat concert hall on the campus of Andrews University. Founded in 1874, Andrews University is the flagship institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers more than 150 areas of study, including advanced degrees. Its main campus is in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and the university also provides instruction at colleges and universities in more than 25 countries around the world.