Walden, the student club on campus dedicated to building community around primarily African American and Black students, was determined to celebrate and share Black History Month with others despite barriers to planning events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Black history actually does exist here on Trevecca’s campus, and so I think it is important that we celebrate it,” said Lea Bryant, the president of Walden.
Walden held its first event of the month on Feb. 4 at Trevecca Community Church; a “get-to-know Black History Month” presentation for the students at KidPOWER, the on-campus after-school program offered free to families in the Napier-Sudekum Community.
“Going through all the classrooms, there were really good discussions being held and the kids asked a lot of questions,” Bryant said. “[We were] trying to give them a better understanding of what Black history is, and [the opportunity] to talk about that with older people that look like them.”
Carolyn Johnson, a junior worship arts major, was one of the five from Walden who spoke to the kids about what it means to be an advocate and a history maker.
“We were there to encourage the kids to not be ashamed of being Black and let them know that they can be a difference-maker in their community, that they can make history,” Johnson said.
Johnson wanted her words to leave a lasting impression but went into the event with caution about what she said.
“I was so nervous because I remember when I was younger and guests would come into class, people remember those sorts of things,” said Johnson.
Walden also hosted a virtual movie night on Feb. 12, where they showed “The Wiz Live,” a take on the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” but with an all-Black cast.
“It was a really good highlight of Black talent,” Bryant said. “You don’t get to see an all-Black cast on Broadway that often.”
Bryant said the club will be hosting a virtual panel of Black professionals based in Nashville on Friday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m.. Megan Richardson, a student serving on the Walden board, said that the idea was to get a panel of professionals from various fields together and let them tell their story.
“[The goal of the event is] to kind of inspire the students of color here, in that they can reach high places, and they can go far in their careers, and there is an example for that,” said Richardson.
The club will also be hosting a virtual event in March with Crystal Degregory, who will come to educate about Walden’s history and broaden the scope of what the Trevecca community knows about it.
“I feel like a lot of people don’t really know much about Walden’s background, we just know it for what it is now,” said Richardson.
Navigating event planning has been “tricky,” and Bryant wished Walden could have been more intentional with their Black History Month events.
“That’s the thing, you try and get stuff together, and then some things end up falling through or you don’t get information out in enough time,” Bryant said. “COVID has proved difficult this time around.”