Black History Open Mic Night


Claire Beaman

Poster for Black History open mic night.

On Thursday, Feb. 28, a Black History Open Mic Night was hosted at the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids. This night gave individuals the opportunity to share their experiences and feelings relating to Black History Month. Anyone could perform, no matter their age, race, or gender.

“I put this event together because we often look over Black History Month as it’s usually not celebrated, or cherished for what it is. Also, the fact that we have so many talented people in our community and especially youth, that have so many important things to say, to share their struggles,” Raafa Elsheikh, so., said.

Black History Month hasn’t received much recognition, which is another reason why Elsheikh wanted to organize the open mic night.

“I am 100% sure, many people still don’t even know when Black History Month is, or that it happened. I also have great sadness, and am at disbelief of the lack of representation, and awareness of Black History Month the school district, or even our own school has done. I mean they recognize one day, Columbus day and give us school off, in honor of a horrible person but don’t recognize the extremely important month of black history,” Elsheikh said.

One month isn’t enough time to sum up the contributions of the black people of America, as they have suffered a great deal in American history and yet have helped achieve so much in the country.

“Black History Month shows the real image of black people, the success, the triumphs, the every day inventions and discoveries we use every day that was made by black people. It brings awareness to the discrimination, the brutality, the torture, the inferiority, assimilation, the black excellence, and struggles. The most important thing to note though, is that black history shouldn’t just be recognized for one month, we shouldn’t stop celebrating black history, because we’re always witnessing black excellence,” Elsheikh said.

Elsheikh hopes that those in attendance at the open mic event were able to understand discrimination through the eyes of someone else and their experiences, in order to acknowledge the trials that are still prevalent today, even if it doesn’t directly effect an individual.

“I hope people can understand other black peoples point of view about the struggles of being black, and why this month is extremely vital, especially since segregation, and discrimination has not ended, nor does it seem it will soon. It’s also important because it shows the excellence of black people, because too often in media black people are often portrayed as criminals, stereotyping a whole population for what it’s not,” Elsheikh said.