It's Black History Month, but what are the origins and significance of this month-long celebration of African-American contributions to America? Integrated Humanities Center Chair, Suzanne del Gizzo, Ph.D., interviewed CHC's Officer of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. LaKeisha Thorpe, to learn more about the history and importance of Black History Month.
Dr. Thorpe, who joined CHC earlier this month, was also recently interviewed in the Chestnut Hill Local about her role at Chestnut Hill College. When speaking about the emphasis of D & I, Dr. Thorpe did not sugarcoat the diligent work the field entails, saying, "This is challenging work because it asks people to consider their humility and question not only themselves but those who have influenced their social constructions. It’s not divisive, and it isn’t about political correctness. It’s more about treating humans like humans and discussing differences with decency. We don’t have to agree, but there’s no reason not to be decent to another human.”
Endeavoring to involve all members of the CHC community in her work, Dr. Thorpe immediately hit the ground running, organizing several panels for Black History Month and already planning ahead to the rest of the calendar year. “I want to work as many angles as we can, undergrad to doctoral, from president’s cabinet to graduate assistants," Dr. Thorpe told Len Lear of the Chestnut Hill Local. "In time, there will be work at all levels of the institution ... It’s having complex and creative thinking that will help us navigate the transcultural environments we find when we leave the comfort of our norms. This thinking is what I will use to promote D & I and motivate the Chestnut Hill community.”
In the latest CHC 101 series, Dr. Thorpe shared her thoughts on Black History Month and its significance both through a personal and professional lens, as well as historical context. You can watch the interview in full below!