February marks the start of Black History Month, and to continue the observation of accomplishments, achievements and historical contributions African Americans have made throughout history, Minnetrista will be hosting a Kick-Off to Black History Month Celebration Saturday. 

“Our mission is to bring people together in celebration, conversation and dialogue,” said Rebecca Gilliam, vice president of visitor experiences at Minnetrista. “This event offers a celebratory atmosphere to discuss black history in Muncie and showcase groups and individuals making a difference today and for the future.”

Beth Messner, organizer of the celebration and associate professor of communications at Ball State, said guests should expect to become inspired and be able to learn, celebrate and participate in their own ways. 

“The theme for this year's event is ‘Raising Your Voice.’ It is designed to emphasize and honor the many different ways in which people have raised their voice to advance the cause of civil rights,” Messner said.

The event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., will feature a variety of activities, including an appearance from the Freedom Bus, a silent auction and a performance by members of Ball State University’s Ethnic Theatre Alliance.

Messner said the celebration is an opportunity for the Muncie community to come together and learn more about African-American history, not only in the world but right here in Muncie. 

“From scientists, to teachers, to politicians, preachers and poets, their contributions should be recognized and celebrated,” said Messner. “Unfortunately, their role in American history is often forgotten, if not ignored. It's important for all Americans to recognize their work as part of our historic legacy and be inspired by their efforts.”

Contact Justice Amick with comments at jramick@bsu.edu.