Northwest Missouri State University will host a series of discussions, social activities and speakers, including US Congressman and former Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver, to commemorate Black History Month.

“The Crisis in Black Education” is this year’s nationwide Black History Month theme.

“It is important to celebrate black history so we know where we came from and where we need to go,” said Arlondo Watson, a junior business management and marketing major from St. Louis who also works in the university’s office of diversity, equity and inclusion. “At Northwest, it is important that we get the whole community together to continue to create a more inclusive environment.”

Cleaver will be the keynote speaker at Northwest’s annual Soul Food Dinner at 5:30 pm, Tuesday, February 21 in the JW Jones Student Union Ballroom. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased in the student engagement center on the second floor of the student union.

All other Black History Month activities at Northwest are free and open to the public.

The university will kick off the series by offering a “Students of Color Survival Guide” at 7:30 pm, Tuesday, January 31 in The Station. The informational session, led by Northwest staff members, will guide students through numerous topics designed to make the most of their college experience.

“Black History & Chill” at 6:30 pm, Wednesday, February 1 in Millikan Hall, will include a discussion about film and documentary clips related to the theme of the crisis in black education.

Northwest’s Student Activities Council will host Janaya Khan, a social justice educator and a co-founder and international ambassador for Black Lives Matter Toronto, as part of its lecture series at 7 pm, Wednesday, February 8 in the Charles Johnson Theater.

“Drop the Mic Night” is 7:30 pm, Thursday, February 16 in the Black Box theater at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts. The office of diversity and inclusion will host a variety of guests during the open mic night and individuals are invited to write a piece related to the month’s theme.

Black History Month activities at Northwest will culminate Saturday, February 25, with a recognition of Northwest alumni of color during halftime of the Bearcat men’s basketball game against Lincoln University. The game begins at 3:30 pm in Bearcat Arena.