SFCC Celebrates Black History Month Feb. 18

Santa Fe Community College presents a free special event honoring Black History Month on Thurs., Feb. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. on campus in the Jemez Rooms, 6401 Richards Ave. African drumming will signal the welcome for all to attend the presentations by guest speakers George Geder and Nelly-Joy Irakoze. The college’s Social Sciences and Humanities Department is sponsoring the event.

Writer and researcher George Geder will present a timeline of the history of African Americans in this country. Geder considers himself an evangelist for African ancestor genealogy and is a strong advocate for having all cultures and family lifestyles being heard and represented. He is president emeritus of the Santa Fe NAACP. He was featured on the PBS show “The History Detectives” and has appeared on PBS’ “New Mexico in Focus.”

Nelly –Joy Irakoze will talk about her personal story so she can help empower women. Born in Bujumbura Burundi Africa, she will share her experience as a Tutsi and war survivor. A Santa Fean since 2005, she says she “represents my two beautiful countries Burundi and Rwanda.” Both used to be called Ruanda-Urundi until 1904 and both countries went through massacres (from Oct. 2003 in Burundi and April 2004 in Rwanda). The region continues to experience violence and conflict. She moved to Liberia in 1999, where she gave massages to women in refugee camps. “The women experienced incredible violence and many feared being touched. I wanted them to experience being touched for healing,” she says. She still works with women from her homeland through her art and design business. “My focus is on empowering women. They are the center of life in Africa. They want to make changes for peace and end violence. They are the ones who make sure children get an education and stay healthy,” she said.

The campus cafeteria lunch on Feb. 18 will feature a soul-food inspired menu. During the presentation you can enjoy a free peach cobbler and ginger tea.

President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

For more information, contact SFCC’s Chair of Social Sciences and Humanities and Assistant Professor of History Steve Martinez, Ph.D., at steve.martinez4@sfcc.edu or 505-428-1516.


For more than three decades, Santa Fe Community College has served as the gateway to success for individuals and the community. SFCC provides affordable, high quality educational programs that serve the social, cultural, technological and economic needs of a diverse community. The college serves more than 15,000 students per year in its credit, noncredit and adult education programs. For further information, visit the website or call 505-428-1000. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.