Speaker: Practice black history every day

Jessica Sewing | Collegio Reporter

Cierra Bailey, Black Student Association president, says she invited Shelly Coulter, executive director of the Kansas City Kansas Schools Foundation for Excellence, to give a motivational speech, because Coulter is Bailey’s mentor.
“She motivated me, and my success on campus is because of her,” said Bailey, sophomore in business management. “She’s the reason why I’m where I am. Also, I thought it was important for students to see a successful, non-famous black person to give us hope and direction.”
Coulter was invited to speak to young students, mainly African-Americans, about the importance of Black History Month.

Shelly Coulter speaks to students in the Governors Room on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The Black Student Association hosted the event for Black History Month. Photo by:Kaitlyn Doherty/Collegio

Shelly Coulter speaks to students in the Governors Room on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The Black Student Association hosted the event for Black History Month. Photo by:Kaitlyn Doherty/Collegio


Coulter reiterated the idea of legacy, and people knowing their purpose and their history, throughout her speech. She made numerous points that resonated with students. Bailey says it was Coulter’s point that black students have been diluted, that stood out to her.
“She mentioned how we tried to fit in rather than knowing our history and being ourselves,” Bailey said. “And that really stood out to me and got my attention.”
Coulter wanted everyone in attendance to know that, every student has work to do. Coulter emphasized that black history isn’t just about one month; it’s about knowing who you are and where you came from.
“I really liked that she stressed the power of knowing where you come from,” said Christopher Simwinga, junior in premed. “It’s hard to move forward if you don’t know where you came from.”
Simwinga says the university should host more events that feature motivational speakers. He says that speakers emphasize different things, and students can always learn from other people’s experiences.
Coulter’s speech was mainly directed toward African-American students, but Simwinga says it could be applied to other ethnicities.
“Everyone deserves to know who they are and in knowing that,” Simwinga said, “you have to know where you come from.”
Bailey says she believes people don’t think about black history as much as they should.
“We are losing our heritage and forgetting the past,” Bailey said. “If we thought about it every day, that one month would be more than just a celebration.”

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