Lyon College and the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (UACCB) are partnering again to celebrate the legacy of the African American community.
The Fourth Annual Black History Month Celebration will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, at UACCB. State Sen. Joyce Elliott will be the keynote speaker.
Dean of Campus Life and Diversity Lai-Monté Hunter said the event brings Batesville together for a community-wide celebration of African American traditions and culture. It will feature music and ministry.
“The church is very prominent in African American culture, so we’re bringing those elements together.”
Musical groups from various churches in the Batesville area will perform, as well as the Lyon College Gospel Choir.
“Music is a universal language that speaks to all people. It is a language that was used to help empower African Americans.”
The event is student-focused, with participation from Lyon’s Black Student Association and UACCB’s Multicultural Student Association.
“The great thing about this partnership is we’re allowing students to help us understand what Black History Month means to them in this current day.”
Lyon freshman Alexandria Harris will serve as the student speaker. She will share what Black History Month means to her and discuss what the Black experience is like for current college students.
“We as the Black community have to make our youth more comfortable in expressing how they feel about certain issues,” said Harris, of Conway. “Once we do that, there will be a shift in the unity that our young people lack.”
Hunter said the speakers will draw connections from the Civil Rights Movement and March on Washington to the current Black Lives Matter movement.
“The event will merge yesterday with today in order to develop a plan for tomorrow.”
He concluded, “As educators, it’s important for us to stay current with our students and their needs so we can make their experience better. If you apply that same philosophy toward culture, that is what this celebration is about.”
Lyon is more than just a college. It's a community distinguished by its academic curriculum, unique honor and social systems, and award-winning professors.