The Black History Month Committee at ASU ignited the conversation on current events affecting the community and nation at the #NoFilter open dialogue event Wednesday evening at ASU’s student center on Central Avenue and Fillmore Street.
Committee members said the primary goal of #NoFilter was to bring the community together by discussing current events influenced by the Black community. Attendees participated in the conversation anonymously by texting in comments and using hashtags.
“I came up with this name as a way to show people that they can express themselves without holding back,” said Arianna Cannady, a chairperson on the Black History Month Committee.
Black History Month is an annual celebration that recognizes the essential role of African Americans in U.S. History. It originated 1926 as a tribute to Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who were both born in the month of February.
ASU student Auset Hood said recognizing the accomplishments of the black community highlights how hard members have had to work to get where they are today.
“Even I have had really bad experiences while playing club soccer and dealing with the racism since I was the minority,” Hood said. “It made me work a lot harder because I had so many people against me.”
Hood said she can only imagine what it was like 50 years ago.
“My father played professional rugby and he was telling me about all the things he had to go through just because the color of his skin,” Hood said. “It truly amazes me.”
Cannady said she hoped to hear several facets of the topics covered, including racism, interracial relationships and the idea of #teamlightskinned versus #teamdarkskinned.
“There shouldn’t be such a category of ‘team light’ and ‘team dark.’ People need to understand that we are one. The color of our skin doesn’t define us,” an anonymous response read.
Others said recognizing African American history should not be restricted to one month, and the majority of guests agreed that racism still exists.
Emeka Ikegwuonu, Program Coordinator of African American Men at ASU and event moderator, explained the mindsets and effects of racism.
“It’s by human nature,” Ikegwuonu said. “We want to group people together.”
He said racism is a power structure that only works when those who are racist get a benefit.
“Our ancestors would want us to be doing what we are doing right now, which is starting conversations and advocating Black history,” Cannady said. “When they saw something wrong they didn’t hide it under the rug … they talked about it.”
ASU has a variety of speakers and performances planned for Black History Month. A full calendar of events can be found here.
Correction: Feb. 12, 2015: A previous version of this article stated the incorrect gender of ASU student Auset Hood due to an editing error.
Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org