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During the academic year, Southeast Missouri State University's student-led publication, the Arrow, contributes campus news for KRCU's digital and broadcast audience.

BIPOC Hosts First Program in Celebration of Black History Month on SEMO's Campus

Multi-cultural graphic with hands raised
Molly Phegley, Features Editor, Southeast Arrow
Graphic by Molly Phegley

Black Indigenous Performers of Color (BIPOC) is hosting their first Black History Month program from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 24 at Rose Theatre, on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. The program will hold space for Black organizations and students on campus to celebrate their history through performances and presentations.

Camille Shoals, a graduate assistant for the Office of Career Services and public administration master's student, is helping BIPOC host the program and has worked closely on other similar projects.

Shoals said there have been different organizations on campus that have hosted previous events for Black History Month, but there had not been one organized last year. While talking with different leaders on campus, Shoals decided it was the students’ duty to make sure a program was hosted this year.

“We pay to be here, we’re students, we have our own autonomy and we are able to speak for ourselves and what we want from the university, so by having students take that power back, we say this is who we are, this is what we represent,” Shoals said. “We are an educational institution first, so we should center students in everything that we do, including events like this.”

The faculty advisor of BIPOC, Tyler Richardson, said he is most excited about the performances and to see students fulfilling and showcasing their talents.

“There will be a plethora of performances from singing to monologues to, you know, some other stuff I just want to keep secret,” Richardson said.

Multiple organizations on campus will be performing at the program, including Black Out, which is a Black American-influenced stomp and shake cheerleading team.

President and founder of Black Out Malayah Lenore said she is excited to showcase her team's skills through a dance she choreographed.

“I chose a song by Rihanna, and the inspiration was that it just made me feel good,” Lenore said. “It’s just a feel-good performance, and it comes from a confidence standpoint.”

This story was originally published by the Southeast Arrow—a news partner with KRCU Public Radio.