Black Lives Matter at Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University students, faculty, and staff are actively involved in the Black Lives Matter movement in Illinois.

The Center for Black Studies at Northern Illinois University is responding with creativity and activism to a recent racist vandalism attack on its building [see my previous post on Racist Vandalism on Campus].

The Center for Black Studies and the College of Visual and Performing Arts are hosting “Art and Soul,” a Black Lives Matter activist event today, Thursday 1 October 2020, on campus.

NIU undergraduate and graduate students in History are invited to participate in this event.

The Daily Chronicle reports on the “Art and Soul” event.

Here is the official announcement for this event:

“Art and Soul” BLM Street Painting Event

The Center for Black Studies and the College of Visual and Performing Arts are hosting an art for social justice event, “Art and Soul.”  The event will be held on Thursday, October 1, from 1 – 4 p.m. at the main entrance of the university on Castle Drive. The Huskie Buses will be re-routed from noon, Thursday, October 1 until Friday morning.

The entire community is invited to join together to help paint “Black Lives Matter” on Castle Drive.  Paint, rollers, and brushes will be supplied.

Participants will be limited to 50 at any one time, but you may join in throughout the afternoon to make your mark and show your commitment to social justice.

All safety measures will be followed.  Masks must be worn, and some will be available at the event.  Wipes will be used to clean the brush handles and rollers after each use.  Safety protocols will be facilitated by members of the Center for Black Studies and students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

In addition to the group painting, there will be performances and speakers throughout the event, including singers, jazz ensembles, percussion ensembles, dance improvisation, and readings from a variety of texts.

“The paint used is water-based and non-toxic,” said Paul Kassel, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “It is expected to last through the rest of the fall semester. Though the image may fade, our commitment to social justice and to a strong Huskie community will remain vivid and strong. We believe that one answer to a hateful act is an act of affirmation of our values. It is in that spirit that this event is being held—to testify and signify to all that NIU holds an unshakeable belief that Black Lives Matter.”

For more information, email the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Donee Spizzirri at

This entry was posted in Culture, History of Violence, Human Rights, Humanities Education, Northern Illinois University, Political Culture, The Past Alive: Teaching History. Bookmark the permalink.

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