URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – We’ve all heard of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X and Rosa Parks. But some U of I students say there’s many other important names to learn – and they want people to remember that after Black History Month ends.

Students are the future. So we asked if they feel Black history is celebrated enough.

“In my opinion, we don’t do enough. Even during the month of February, it feels mostly performative,” Taiwo Ajasa said.

To remedy that, Ajasa says people should keep their enthusiasm for learning through the rest of the year. To her, Black History Month is about studying every contribution the Black community has made, especially by people you may be less familiar with.

“Doing a deep dive and then actually telling the truth when we’re telling Black history and not kind-of watering it down,” Ajasa said.

That means honoring names like Bell Hooks and Audre Lorde alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. And letting Black teachers do it.

“There’s so many ways to get information about Black history from Black people,” she said.

Ajasa is the marketing and social media intern at the U of I’s Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, or BNAACC for short.

“Definitely a place that has loving and open arms – that we come in, we welcome everyone that comes through the door,” Walter Flatt said.

Flatt handles art, culture and entertainment at the center.

“We really make this place feel like home because college can be very stressful, so just to have a place that is really home vibes – good food and good people is what we strive to have here at BNAACC,” Flatt said.

The university felt it was important to give students of all backgrounds a space to feel empowered, supported and connected to their heritage. And to the students who spend time in BNAACC, the U of I’s investment paid off.

We asked Flatt what Black History Month means to him.

“Even though it is only a month, it is a good opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and to try something new, to listen to something new,” he said. “Bring some more color and flavor to your life that you might not have had previously.”

If you’re interested in attending a Black History Month event hosted by BNAACC, Flatt says you can find the information on their social media pages.