100 attendees expected at Black Excellence Gala

Rutth Mercado

The Black Excellence Gala, to be held Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art, will consist of songs, dinner, presentation of awards, and social activist keynote speaker Kwame Rose.

Charles Frazier, athletic training senior, said, “There’s a portion of the gala where attendees can get up and interact with each other, especially students and alumni. There’s an opportunity for students to talk to alumni about their experiences, and create those networking opportunities. We’re putting an emphasis on networking along with social advocacy and the importance of social justice, which are the main themes of the Gala.”

Shayla Owens, business management junior, said faculty members will receive awards based on their involvement with social justice equality on campus, but next year they hope to involve students as well.

Owens said, “We are going to be awarding several faculty members that have helped by pushing for social justice, having those conversations about race, different problems that each group faces, and just making sure that we’re a more inclusive institution as far as our students and faculty go. Next year we do hope to do student awards, but this year we focused on the faculty that helped us get here.”

Students said they are already excited about this event.

Diamond Williams, kinesiology sophomore, and Andre Tyrell economics junior, are most excited about formal dressing.

Preston Busby, criminal justice freshman, said he is excited for the experience because this is the first black history month gala that has ever been hosted on this campus.

Zaquera Wallace, biology freshman, is excited to see what this gala is all about and the programs and organizations that helped piece this together.

And Jaden Green, undecided freshman, is just excited because she’s never been to a gala before.  

Committee leaders said  they expect 100 people to attend, and 70 attendees have already purchased the $5 ticket. The ticket money does not pay for the dinner itself, but for the gender-neutral emblemed gift each guest will receive for attending.

The last day to purchase tickets is Feb. 24 at 5 p.m.  

The Gala will be the concluding event of Black History Month, which started on Feb. 1.

The black history committee members are composed of different representatives from campus organizations, collaboratively working together to create the events for the month of February. 

Frazier, said, “It is each individual member and their organizations who made Black History Month what it is on this campus, because if it wasn’t for individual organizations, a lot of these events wouldn’t have been put on. You have to acknowledge the Black Student Union, the NAACP, and the University Programming Board. One organization that helped behind the scenes, but hasn’t really been showcased this entire month, is the Caribbean Student Organization. CSO has helped with the programming too and you have to give them credit as well. AKA has helped immensely with the programming. Without these organizations, the things we’ve done this month wouldn’t have come together at all. I’m eternally grateful. We’re trying to set a standard, so that in 10 years we can come back and say, ‘Oh, they’re still doing a Black History Month committee.'”

Owens said keynote speaker Rose was unique because of the focus points of his keynote address.

“His keynote address is more centered around why we should be active in our communities, why it’s okay to take a stand on things that matter, and how to do it in a way that you can encite a powerful change,” Owens said.