Monday Moments with President Bergman: February 1, 2021

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on February 1st, 2021 by

Good morning Gustavus, and welcome to the start of Spring Semester, 2021. We begin with two weeks of a “lay low” period, which will help us minimize the risk of a surge of COVID-19 cases as we bring our community back together again on campus. Thank you in advance to everyonestudents, faculty, and stafffor your diligence and cooperation during this lay low period. We all know the drill: wear your mask, keep your distance, avoid gathering in groups, and regularly wash your hands. As we anticipate the continuation of the vaccine roll-out, let’s all work together to guard the health and safety of ourselves, our friends, and our colleagues.

President Rebecca M. Bergman

We also have a second “start” to celebrate todayFebruary 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month 2021. Black History Month honors the varied and impactful contributions of African Americans to United States history. You may be interested in learning about the history of Black History Month, which dates back to 1926. I invite you to check out this summary on the website of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

Each year, ASALH chooses a theme for Black History Month, and the theme for 2021 is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” As with previous Black History Month themes, we can gain perspective on this topic by looking through a variety of lenses, including history, literature, art, music, dance, and film studies, African studies, sociology, anthropology, political science, and public policy—and many others. As an academic institution, we have the built-in opportunity to take a holistic approach to topics such as Black history that touch many disciplines. I encourage each of you to watch for and take advantage of opportunities to dig in and learn about Black history and the Black family both on and off campus throughout the month.

One such educational program that caught my eye will be shown on February 10 on the History Channel—Tuskegee Airmen: Legacy of Courage, a documentary focused on the first Black military pilots in the United States. You might also take advantage of several of the podcasts in our very own Learning for Life @ Gustavus podcast, hosted by history professor Greg Kaster. Check out interviews with alumni and current employees, including Phil Bryant ’73, Hope Crenshaw ’04, William Green ’72, Tom Flunker, and others. Read about the work of Dr. Bernard Powers ’72, who leads the Center for the Study of Slavery in Charleston, S.C. Finally, I would recommend a new video series, “Amplifying Black Voices,” that includes thoughts from Gustavus alumni producer Mason Bultje ’18 and former Center for Inclusive Excellence assistant director Janet Jennings ’17.

Gusties, there are so many opportunities for us to engage with this rich and multifaceted topic. This month, take advantage of these many resources—and find some of your own. Be curious, explore, ask questions, and learn.

Until next week, keep up the good work, Gusties!

Yours in community,

President Bergman

 

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