A little over a week ago, the Organization of African-Americans graduate students at Temple University held a rally to stress the importance of protecting and revitalizing the Department of African American studies. At this rally, activists gathered together to discuss the underlying issues of racism in the education system and the threat of losing the presence of African culture in these institutions. Activists such as Dr. Molefi K. Asante and Dr. Anthony Monteiro gave powerful sermons inviting young people to take back the direction and progress of these programs. They also called together people of all ages and races to not allow administrations to undermine African culture and its presence in American history. The speakers gave background into how African Americans studies programs came about and the 40 years of legwork it took for it to gain the stature that it has today. These advocates illustrated images of resistance and ignorance that they fought against to bring Temple’s African American studies program to where it is today. Thus, bringing us to the significance of thwarting any force that attempts to take away that recognition from us.
This assemblage brought attention to an issue that I wasn’t even aware was happening. When I think of race in education systems my immediate thought is at elementary and middle school levels. Some of the biggest issues with lack of cultural programs in schools are typically addressed as soon as a child begins to interact with other children or face some of the world’s ugliest faults. This is thought to be the best time to shape, instruct, or correct a person’s way of thinking and rectifying any mistakes we as a society have made in treatment of others according to our physical assertions.
But what about college and universities? Is it too late for us by this time? Have we as adults already made up our mind about whose on top of the race period and unprepared to change the scenery for a stage that has been set since before our country knew it definition. And if so does that mean we have allowed people to dictate to us who we are and our relevance on the social food chain. These are just some of the countless thoughts I gathered from listening to these representatives who clearly after all these years still have the fire within them to fight for rights of those who don’t even understand the war that’s going on. The war in sustaining African culture as an integral part of American history. Granted, war may to some be a dramatic or harsh word to use. But, keep in mind the definition of war: a state of armed conflicts between different nations or states or different groups within a nation. If you ask me I’d say we have a major conflict between the administrations and corporations that rejecting cultures that aren’t European and the cultures that cultures who refuse to be ignored in a nation it helped to build.
Want to watch the rally and make your own assertions ? Check it out Here
words by: SAUDIA R DURRANT
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