“The Origins of Black History Month” lecture on February 16 was a concise and comprehensive historical lecture on the journey that led to the U.S. Congress in 1986 to vote the month of February as Black History Month.
Dr. Ozuna was not alone, she was introduced by Chief Diversity Officer Latoya Jeffers, who also moderated the event, and was welcomed by Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, who said“Hostos Community College takes its role in the community with the utmost seriousness. And we are proud to provide a forum for a variety of voices and issues.”
In her opening remarks, Professor Ozuna emphasized, “as an Afro-Dominicana I relished in the opportunity to engage in the diffusion of black intellectual heritage and the black experience.”
“The Origins of Black History Month” focused on how one single event founded by Carter G. Woodson evolved through time and with generational and multi-layered efforts by scholars, activists, and artists. Through their knowledge production, collectively they fought institutional racism, challenged systemic racism, and built black institutions to elevate and empower Black life and people.
The lecture reviewed the life and contributions of Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, and Arturo Schomburg. Professor Ozuna could not leave out the global impact of The Harlem Renaissance and how art and culture played a major role in building an intellectual legacy. Ozuna apologized to the many women leaders she would miss to include but mentioned the significant contributions of Ida B. Wells, Harriet Tubman, Zora Neale Hurston, Mary McLeod Bethune, Septima Clark and Fannie Lou Hamer.
“Honoring our ancestors to ensure the vitality of future generations is key,” said Ozuna and reminded attendees that, “the past, present and future are all connected.”