Valley Broadens Horizon with Black Heritage

BSU celebrates African-American culture with a gala of events.

by Alexandra Avendano, Staff Writer

Sankofa, a word originating from the Akan language of Ghana, translates to English as “to reach back and take.” This theme was visible throughout the day at LAVC’s Black Heritage Week celebration.


Staff, faculty and students were invited to learn about the events in history, which have defined our society. The Black Student Union kicked off what they hope will become an annual event on Feb. 24.


The event featured a variety of activities ranging from a screening of a film documenting the struggles of African American university students, to dancers performing to traditional African music. Tri-fold displays were along the walls of the Student Services Multi-Purpose Room. Each event was carefully selected by many including African American studies professor, Dr. Keidra Morris.


“When we started planning the events, we wanted to celebrate both the African American diaspora presented in the United States and their roots,” Morris said.


Planning for the week-long celebration began in November of last year to ensure enough preparation to honor black history and urge students to become involved in their ancestry.


“These events were planned for the chance that students would get to know each other, and get a taste of the events that are going to happen later on,” BSU president Christiana Brickhouse said.


The showing of the viral video “The Black Bruins (Spoken Word)” began the week on Monday. The short video focused on the ongoing issues of low enrollment numbers and the even lower graduation rate of black male students, at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Staff and faculty gathered on Tuesday,to discuss the prevalent topics on campus and the possible solutions.


BSU along with 10 other on-campus clubs wereon hand Wednesday, for “Black Heritage Club Day” to encourage students to join their organizations, while enjoying the music of “The Garifunas” – descendants of Carib, Arawak and the West African people.


Thursday, the final day of the celebration featured a display of pivotal moments in black history exploring the ways these events have affected the development of an ethnicity.


“The symbol for sankofa is represented by a bird flying forward, with its head turning back and a pregnant stomach,” Morris said. “We hope that by looking back at the past from which we come – good and bad – we can discover more and more about ourselves by defining who we are.”


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