2020 Black History Month Celebration Kicks Off with Reflections on “Black and Blooming” Theme

(BLOOMINGTON) – The City of Bloomington invites the community to a free kick-off event for the 2020 Black History Month celebration on January 30 at City Hall (401 N. Morton Street). The event begins with a reception in the atrium at 6 p.m., with the program beginning in Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m.  

Dr. Gerald Onuoha II will speak at the 2020 Black History Month Kick-off Eve

The theme for the 2020 Black History Month celebration is “Black and Blooming.” The month’s events will acknowledge and honor up-and-coming Black leaders, visionaries, and changemakers who are blazing trails and leaving their mark on our city, state, and country. Whether Bloomington natives or transplants by way of educational journeys and careers, these people have strived to “bloom where [they] are planted,” and positively influence the community. 

The kick-off event will feature a talk by Dr. Gerald Onuoha II, who will share personal reflections on his professional path and the challenges he has endured along the way as a Nigerian American to defy the odds of “blooming.”  A native of Huntsville, Alabama, Dr. Onuoha is a graduate of Tennessee State University (B.S., Physics, Astronomy), Meharry Medical College (M.D.), and Dartmouth College (M.S., Clinical Practice) and works as an Internal Medicine Hospitalist Physician for the HCA Tristar System at Meharry. The kick-off will also feature a performance by Tiesha Douglas and a barbershop quartet performance by Tislam Swift, Darian Clonts, Dexter Griffin, and Marcus Peterson. 

Highlights of Black History Month include these additional events: 

  • Bloomington Black Strategic Alliance hosts its third annual State of the Black Community Address Tuesday, February 4 in City Hall Council Chambers, beginning with a reception at 5:30 p.m.  Following the reception, representatives from a coalition of organizations will provide perspectives on Black business ownership, Black male health, and youth mental health in the Black community. 
  • Young scholars and historians will be honored at the 2020 Black History Month Essay Contest Awards Program on Wednesday, February 12 at 6 p.m at Fairview Elementary School (500 West 7th Street, Bloomington). 
  • The culminating event for the month, the annual Black History Month Gala, will be held on Saturday, February 29 at One World at Woolery Mill (2250 West Sunstone Drive). The event will feature dining, dancing, and a recognition of the 2020 Living Legend and Outstanding Black Leaders of Tomorrow award recipients.  The reception and silent auction will begin at 6:00 p.m., with the program at 7:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased starting January 30 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, online at https://bctboxoffice.org/event/black-history-month-gala/ or by phone at 812-323-3020.    

For a full listing of Black History Month events in the community, visit bloomington.in.gov/bhm