Starting this week, Bob Jones University’s Minorities Empowered to Educate and Serve, or METES, will celebrate Black History Month and educate students by hosting several events throughout the rest of February.
The student organization will show a movie in honor of Black History Month in Stratton Hall Thursday at 7 p.m.
Noah Jackson, the president of METES, said he wants to “educate students on the past treatment of African American people” in the U.S. by showing Ruby Bridges, a Disney movie based on the true story of the first Black student to integrate an all-white elementary school in the South.
Following the film, an open discussion time will offer a chance for attendees to respond to what they saw, exchange thoughts with other students and understand how they should address similar situations in their own lives.
A service project taking place at Greenville’s Phillis Wheatley Community Center will be another opportunity for students to get involved in the organization. METES officers and volunteers will spend time in the center getting to know boys and girls from a range of backgrounds and participate with them in activities.
This event, along with a separate round-table discussion held on campus, will take place later this month or in early March. Students interested in the event can look for the latest information on the organization’s Instagram account, @metesbju.
Jackson said he’s especially excited about the open roundtable discussion, which he believes will provide an avenue for students as Christians to value what each other has to say and find common ground.
Jackson said, “We really chose these events because we wanted to take an approach that promotes unity, education and service according to our mission, which is to cultivate a student body that respects all cultures and ethnicities.”
METES’ leadership wants people to walk away from these events with the belief that individuals can, with God’s help, change their future for good. Jackson said, “A story like Ruby Bridges’ is something that is lesser known yet has a big impact on what was accomplished in the South. I want people to come in and experience the message of the movie, reflect on history and create a better future together as one.”
President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month for the first time in 1976 as a way of honoring the contributions of Black Americans and educating the country about African American history.
Every year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History gives Black History month a specific theme. This year’s Black History Month focuses on African Americans’ health and wellness.
Jackson said, “Black History Month is really important to me because we can reflect on a lot of great leaders that had an impact on the minority struggle in America. It is a time of reflection in education, and really an opportunity for future service. … It’s a wonderful experience for everyone to come together and share that history.”