Black History Month commemorated at Parkland

Photo by EvyJo Compton | Bieke Opgenhaffen (left) and Christina Cooper (right) run the Student Nurses at Parkland (SNAP) booth where both Opgenhaffen and Cooper took students’ blood pressures during the Health Services Fair on Feb. 9.

Photo by EvyJo Compton | Bieke Opgenhaffen (left) and Christina Cooper (right) run the Student Nurses at Parkland (SNAP) booth where both Opgenhaffen and Cooper took students’ blood pressures during the Health Services Fair on Feb. 9.

EvyJo Compton


Every year, since 1926, the United States has celebrated Black History Month.

This is not the first year Parkland College has hosted several events during the month of February.

On Feb. 16, from 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m., there will be a Soul Food Luncheon. Tickets are on sale for $10. A lot of planning, hard work, and fundraising went into play to make the Luncheon happen.

“The Soul Food Luncheon is…in the Student Atrium,” said Nichalas Sanders, assistant director of Parkland’s admissions department and chairperson of the Black History Month committee. “The menu for the luncheon is: baked or fried chicken, mac and cheese, green beans, cookies, and water.”

“For some, the ticket is reasonably priced,” said Donna Tanner-Harold, a Parkland College counselor and advisor to Parkland’s Black Student Success Project. “For others, it may not be. Albert Like, a custodian here at Parkland, realized there was a need to help the students be able to go to this luncheon. He went around and collected money…because of his wonderful efforts, there will be an opportunity for students to win a free ticket to the lunch. I just think it’s wonderful that someone would see a need to help, and then follow through.”

On Feb. 9, a Health Services Fair was held. Several different booths attended.

“With the Health Services Fair, we are hoping it will be targeted towards black students,” Tanner-Harold said. “In our community, there is a risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and related illnesses. The emphasis is on the wellness, and self-care of black students, but everyone can benefit. There will be several different vendors as well as Parkland people who will be coming.”

These are not the only events that are taking place or have taken place.

“We, the committee for Black History Month, tried to get a variety of different presenters,” Tanner-Harold said. “Nichalas Sanders put out a call for presenters, and we got a wonderful response from the faculty and staff. I think that we achieved getting a variety. There are lots of expertise, lots of skills and interests.”

Black History Month started off on Feb. 2 and 3 with the “Skywatchers of Africa” planetarium show. This continues every Friday and Saturday through the end of February. Tickets for adults are $6, and tickets for students, kids and seniors are $5.

“Cornerstone: Celebrating Three Black Writers” by Aaron Geiger is on Feb. 13 from 12 p.m. until 1 p.m. in U140.

“It is a presentation about three African-American writers such as James Baldwin, Ethel Morgan and Tyehimba Jess and some of their notable works,” Sanders said.

On Feb. 21, the Black Student Success Project: Relationships II will be held from 1 p.m.–2 p.m. in U140.

“I like to cover black female and male relationships during Black History Month,” Tanner-Harold said. “It fits in nicely. We have already had our first discussion, Feb. 7, and our next one will be on the 21. I think it is an important topic for everyone.”

Black History Month celebrates the achievements of African-Americans in the United States and events and references are nationwide.

“I think it is important to learn about the history,” Tanner-Harold said. “It is good to highlight all of the achievements that African-Americans have done. It is really amazing to think about how many people have had a part of our American history, and how we have gotten where we are today.”

The Black History Month poster seen hanging on several bulletin boards and walls is also a source of pride for Tanner-Harold.

“We are really proud of our poster this year,” Tanner-Harold said. “Yes, it gives the dates and activities, but I think we’ve done really well with it. It has the iconic picture of the Olympic protest on it as it is the 50th anniversary of that protest. We really put a lot of time working, such as working with marketing, to put this poster together.”

The committee started working on getting events and presenters together in October of 2017.

“I simply sent out an email to all staff members to be a part of the committee,” Sanders said. “In addition, next year, I would like for students to be a part of the committee as well.”

For more information on Parkland’s Black History Month celebrations, visit