TAASU Celebrates Black History Month With Their Annual Freedom Breakfast

For Black History Month, student organizations put on a spectacular breakfast


Catia Montelongo

Wesley Hamilton uses his life’s story to bring awareness to mental health in minority communities.

Catia Montelongo and Angelique White, Staff Writers

  The African American Students Union (TAASU) and Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) celebrated Black History Month on Feb. 16 with their annual Freedom Breakfast at the Student Union, including keynote speaker Wesley Hamilton.

  TAASU provided a variety of breakfast delicacies from sponsors who have supported this event for over 30 years. University Vice Provost and Dean of Students, Dr. Michele Smith also spoke along with a powerful, poetry tribute by Dominic Love, the UMKC Men of Color president. 

  As a father, shooting survivor, founder of the non-profit Disabled but Not Really and influencer, Hamilton discussed his story and mental health in African American communities.

  “Just like any other black man in America, we are not born with people having faith that we can be more than what they already see us as,” Hamilton said. “This kept me defeated, kept me with PTSD, kept me with anxiety, kept me with depression. I’m saying these terms because, in the black community, we are just now figuring out what they are.”

  He continued to speak about identity and how he felt alienated in Kansas City compared to Los Angeles, where he felt desired and safe. 

  “I realized Kansas City is black and white. You’re either black or you’re either white. I stay in Los Angeles now. I’m not just seen as a black male,” Hamilton said. “I’m seen with a disability and all the intersections I represent.”

Malowa May was “high on the cloud” after receiving the Annual Leadership Award (Catia Montelongo)

  Hamilton also spoke about where he sees Kansas City in ten years.

  “I’d hope to see more individuals being seen for their different unique abilities and embrace their identities,” Hamilton said. 

  After Hamilton’s discussion, the Annual Leadership Award was presented to Malowa May, a cashier at the UMKC dining hall. 

  “I’m thankful that God allowed me to show people love, compassion, and kindness no matter what they look like and what they have been going through,” May said. “I see everyone as equal and everyone deserves to have someone acknowledge them.”  

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