Dear colleagues,
Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, a federally recognized celebration of the numerous contributions Black and African Americans have made, and continue to make to this country. It is also a time to solemnly reflect on the continued struggle for racial equity and justice. The events of the past year have been particularly historic in this struggle. Police brutality and the murders of George Floyd and others, the disproportionate deaths and jobs lost from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the display of white supremacy and the violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol are constant reminders of the work that remains to be done.

Despite the struggles, the last few months also saw triumphs for the Black Lives Matter movement. Our nation elected its first Black vice president, a woman and a graduate of Howard University, a historically Black university. Georgia sent its first Black senator to Congress. This would not have been possible if it were for the Get-Out-The-Vote organizing efforts of Stacey Abrams and LaTosha Brown, among others. These historical events accentuate the importance of grassroots movements to effect real change.
Today, in celebration of Black History Month, we share an important message from UC President Dr. Michael Drake, as well as a UCI story by Lilibeth Garcia recognizing Black groundbreakers in the Anteater community. While we cannot physically take part in Black History Month events together, we urge you to attend some of the virtual events below, offered by our colleagues and partners from all around campus, to learn about the work and accomplishments of Black scholars.

We also invite you to incorporate the knowledge and awareness you gain into your classrooms, your discussions, and your collaborations with Black colleagues on scholarly works. Let us ensure that Black voices are properly credited and recognized year-round and not just this month.

In solidarity,

Michael A. Yassa, Ph.D.
for the UCI End Racism Initiative

Important Message about Black History Month from UC President Dr. Michael Drake


Black History Month

Recognizing Black Groundbreakers
in the Anteater Community

Students gathered at the Center for Black Cultures, Resources & Research on January 23, 2020. Steve Zylius / UCI

Upcoming Events

A Study in Blackness and Black Identity
University Art Gallery, Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Thursday, February 4 | 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.
Register Here

Cherise Smith, Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, UT Austin. Hosted by UCI.

Scholar Cherise Smith discusses the art of Michael Ray Charles, an artist who rose to prominence in the 1990s for works that engaged American stereotypes of Black Americans. Based on her research and collaboration with the artist to produce the recent book, Michael Ray Charles, Smith addresses Charles’ redeployment of stereotypical images from the indexes of Black Americana, popular culture, and politics.

There is Something Different About Today’s Social Movement
Black Faculty And Staff Association

Friday, February 5 | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Zoom Meeting Link

Dr. Thomas A. Parham, President of California State University, Dominguez Hills

Addressing Slavery: “The Revolution Will Not Be Theorized: Cultural Revolution in the Black Power Era” 
School of Social Sciences

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2021 | 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Zoom Meeting Link (pre-registration required)

Featuring Errol A. Henderson, Associate Professor of International Relations, Pennsylvania State University

What Does Social Change Look Like?
School of Social Sciences

Friday, February 12 | 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Zoom Meeting Link (pre-registration required)

Featuring Angela Russell, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, CUNA Mutual Group

Addressing Racism’s Toll and the Road to the Chancellor’s Professor
Black Faculty And Staff Association

Friday, February 12 | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Zoom Meeting Link

Michele Goodwin, J.D., Chancellor’s Professor & Director, Center for Biotechnology & Global Health Policy

AICRE and the School of Humanities

Monday, February 15 | 10:00 a.m.
Zoom Meeting Link

Organized by the dept of Philosophy and The Africana Institute for Creativity Recognition and Elevation – AICRE (Co-conveners: Tiffany Willoughby Herard, Annalisa Coliva and S. Ama Wray)

Speakers: Dr Kathryn Sophia Bell, Dr Michael McEachrane, Dr Anand Commissiong and Dr José Cossa

Rather than remain silent on race, Western philosophy has often situated African and Black life particularly as degraded, an exception, or outside life itself. What genealogies have enabled and continue this history? What genealogies, both within the academy and without, offer us tools for resistance? Aiming to cultivate vocabularies at precisely this intersection, AICRE+PHILOSOPHY is a year-long series collaboration between The Africana Institute for Creation, Recognition, and Elevation (AICRE) and the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. Featuring guest lectures from philosophers from around the world in conversation with lecturers, graduate students, and faculty within the department, AICRE+PHILOSOPHY facilitates a space to engage the impact of anti-Blackness within Western philosophies through shared scholarship, reflection, and discussion.

Decolonizing the University in Global/Transnational Perspective: A Roundtable Conversation 
School of Social Sciences

Feb 16, 2021 | 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Zoom Meeting Link (pre-registration required)


The Black Index: “Analogous” — Alicia Henry with Bridget R. Cooks
University Art Gallery, Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Friday, February 18 | 3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Free admission with RSVP

Alicia Henry, Professor of Art, Fisk University with Bridget R. Cooks, Professor and Exhibition Curator, UC Irvine. Hosted by the Palo Alto Art Center.

Join us for a conversation between exhibition artist, Alicia Henry and exhibition curator, Bridget R. Cooks about Henry’s art practice, influences, and her installation, Analogous III, featured in The Black Index.

The Black Index: Archiving Black Creativity and Resistance
University Art Gallery, Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Friday, February 19 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Free admission with RSVP

Join bibliographer Simone Fujita and curator Krystal Tribbett for a conversation about the role of libraries and archives in indexing Black creative thought and resistance. Fujita and Tribbett discuss the responsibilities of institutions to collect and preserve materials from Black artists and social movements. This conversation is in association with The Black Index, an online exhibition curated by Bridget R. Cooks on view at the Contemporary Art Center Gallery at the University of California, Irvine.

Screening of Pivotal Martin Luther King Jr. Speech and Thoughts and Expansion on the Context
Black Faculty and Staff Association

Friday, February 19  | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Zoom Meeting Link

Dr. Zachary Price, Assistant Professor of Doctoral Studies

A Behind-The-Scenes Discussion with the Curator of “The Black Index” Art Exhibit
Black Faculty and Staff Association

February 26 | 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Zoom Meeting Link

Dr. Bridget R. Cooks, Associate Professor and Art Curator

About the UCI End Racism Initiative

Visit the UCI End Racism Initiative website to find out about grassroots discussions and activities, as well as additional resources celebrating Black excellence and confronting anti-Black racism.