By LAUREN MCDONALD firstname.lastname@example.org
For Ashly Voltaire, Black History Month is a time to share her culture with her peers.
The College of Coastal Georgia student is a first generation American raised by Haitian parents.
"When I was little, it was always instilled in me that Haiti was the first black republic to ever gain independence," she said. "I'm always proud of my culture."
So on Thursday, Voltaire was tabling in CCGA's student center with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to promote events going on around campus during February for Black History Month.
Those events will include a jazz and pop concert on Feb. 7, a showing of the movie "Dear White People" on Feb. 8 and a Soul Food Celebration on Feb. 24, to end the month.
"In African-American tradition, food has always been the central focus," said Chris Campbell, a CCGA senior who is helping plan the soul food event. "I just know, growing up at my grandmother's, whenever we ate at the table, our differences fell apart ... Cooking, and in general food, for us, has always been an uplifting thing."
Coastal's Student Health Center is also promoting American Heart Month with a push throughout February to educate students about the risk of heart disease and other health issues. And Friday, the center led a walk around campus to promote the national Go Red for Women movement, which aims to end heart disease and strokes among women.
Thearon Filson, the administrative assistant in the health center, said she encourages students to develop healthy habits early, to prevent issues later in life.
"If you have bad eating habits now, you grow up like that," Filson said. "It's good for them to know, even though it's probably not going to affect them right now ... Getting them engaged and active in their health now will last throughout their lifetime."
Brittany Garcia, CCGA's coordinator for student engagement in intercultural programs, said she hopes to see the college's students get involved in both Black History Month and American Heart Month.
"It just exposes them to different things on campus, especially learning about the different cultures from their peers," Garcia said.
Celebrating one another's culture broadens students' perspectives, she said.
"The whole thing is just to prepare them for the global society that they'll experience when they leave college," she said.
And February is a time to share and experience black culture, Voltaire said.
Photo by Bobby Haven of The News
College of Coastal Georgia student Nakiah Kirksey, left, looks on as Thearon Filson, administrative assistant in the CCGA student health center, center, and student Ashley Voltaire work on a display for Black History Month in the CCGA campus center on February 2.