The CMU School of Drama joins our College of Fine Arts (CFA) community in the celebration of Black History Month, with this year’s theme of “Ujima,” Swahili for collective work and responsibility. 

Black history is American history, yet it is usually discussed only in the month of February and is usually done through a slave or activist narrative,” said Valeria J. Martinez, CFA Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. “There is so much more to the Black experience, history and culture than trauma. This is not to negate their violent past, but to remind us to honor and celebrate their triumphs, victories and contributions, as well.

“The College of Fine Arts honors Black History Month by accepting accountability for our positioning of Black and African American history, culture and narratives within our community. We must do better, and we will.”

The School of Drama stands firmly with CFA in recognition of our own responsibility in the collective work.

We hope you’ll join us for the following programs, which, as Dean Martinez says, “will highlight the contributions of the pan-African diaspora, Black and African Americans to United States history and culture, as well as offer opportunities to discuss how we will move forward together with accountability and intentional allyship.”

CMU 2022 BHM Programming 


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Keynote Lecture: Soledad O’Brien  

Tuesday, February 8; 5 p.m.

Registration Link:

Broadcast journalist, producer and philanthropist Soledad O’Brien will focus on disrupting and dismantling systemic racism by sharing voices and perspectives that often go unheard. She will bring powerful, real world insights in selected U.S. cities where efforts are underway to reform policing, incarceration, education, land ownership and more. O’Brien aims to leave audiences with a new understanding of how each of us can better understand and assist in dismantling systemic racism.


Bridging the Gap: Turning Allyship into Activism

Wednesday, February 9; 1:30 p.m.

Registration Link:

Brandi Fisher, founder of the Alliance for Police Accountability, joins us to address how one can hold themselves and others accountable to serve as an intentional ally. We will discuss the differences between performative and intentional activism, as well as the difference between activism and advocacy. The goal of this 90 minute program is to support a progressive understanding of accountable activism in support of those minoritized based on race and ethnicity.


When Spirits Align: Black Bartenders & How They Shaped an Industry

Friday, February 11; 4 p.m.

Registration link:

This 90 minute interactive tutorial offers participants an opportunity to explore the rich, hidden history of mixology. Mixologist, Cecil B. Usher, will direct participants through cocktail and mocktail making while learning about the contributions Black Americans have made to the industry. Upon registration, participants will receive the names of our proposed cocktails and mocktails, as well as an ingredients list and gift certificate to purchase ingredients. This is an event you don’t want to miss!


Khuraki: A Celebration of Afghanistan in Pittsburgh

Tuesday, February 15; 5 p.m.

Giant Eagle Auditorium, Rangos Ballroom, Cohon University Center

Registration Link:

This interactive theater experience, highlighted by food and music, helps to benefit Afghan women in a new food service venture. It is free and open to the public. Masks are required. A Zoom session also will be available.


Khuraki (Panel Discussion) 

Thursday, February 17; 5 p.m.

Giant Eagle Auditorium, Baker Hall

Registration Link:

This discussion focuses on Afghan resettlement in the Pittsburgh area. The panel features: Ivonne Smith-Tapia, the director of Refugee and Immigrant Services at Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh; Sohrab Bakhshi, contractor for the U.S. Military and former Afghan refugee, who personally experienced the transition, brought to the U.S. under a Special Immigrant Visa; and historian Emanuela Grama, associate professor and director of Global Studies at CMU, who will discuss dislocation and its related side effects. The panel is free and open to the public. Masks are required.


Decolonizing Mental Health 

Thursday, February 24; 3 p.m.

Registration Link:

This 90 minute workshop aims to destigmatize the need and desire for BIPOC students to seek mental health services. Racially minoritized communities experience a variety of challenges from imposter syndrome, feelings of isolation, identity insecurity, racial battle fatigue, and much more. Join us for a discussion with mental health experts about the collegiate experience of BIPOC students and learn some tools to empower yourself and practice radical self-love.