The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

View this profile on Instagram

The Torch (@sju_torch) • Instagram photos and videos

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jojo Siwa
Jojo Siwa’s Bad Karma
Catherine Pascal, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024
Torch Photo / Anya Geiling
Live Show Spotlight: Roger Eno
Anya Geiling, Contributing Writer • April 30, 2024
Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson
Speed Dating Your Prospective Professors
Isabella Acierno, Outreach Manager • April 29, 2024

African Heritage Month celebrated

Throughout the month of February, a.k.a. African Heritage Month, St. John’s students have engaged in enlightening events that presented them with an opportunity to gain a better knowledge of African history.

An event that was one of the most educational was a visit to the New York Historical Society where students viewed an exhibit that explored how slavery and the slave trade contributed to making New York one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

“The exhibit was phenomenal,” said Damien Duchamp, the director of Campus Activities. “We had a turnout of about 22 students as well as eight administrators which was a surprise.”

An event entitled “The Anatomy of Prejudice” was another highlight of the first half of African Heritage Month. Jane Elliot, an anti-racism activist who developed the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes exercise, which demonstrates the impact of discrimination, spoke to over 100 students.

“Students spoke with her for nearly an hour after she was finished with her presentation,” said Duchamp. “Getting students there is the problem, but those that attend always have a positive experience.”

Also held was the “2nd Annual Rosa Parks Day,” sponsored by the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, which allowed students to reflect on the life and impact Parks had on the African-American community.

“We had about 50 participants,” said Patricia Ambroise, the co-chair of African Heritage Month. “It also stressed the importance of an education and to not be complacent with the label we have been given.”

An important trend that has surfaced through all of these events is the variety of both the students attending and the events themselves.

“The events we’ve held so far have been better attended than I’ve seen since I was a freshman,” Ambroise said. “Additionally, the programs have been more diverse than I’ve ever seen.”

The importance of these events cannot be understated.

“Only through dialogue and interpretation do we learn, whether it be through a cultural or leadership program,” Duchamp said. “Cultural programs allow people to get out of their comfort zones.”

As the month of February comes to a close, there are still important events coming up such as 16th Annual Black and White Ball on Feb. 24, the conclusion of “Roots” on Feb. 27 and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Dinner on Feb 28, closing the month.

Despite the overall success the programs have enjoyed so far, Duchamp sees room for improvement in the future.

“We need to do a better job of getting other students to these programs,” he said. “By not attending, students are missing something very special.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Torch
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. John's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Torch
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *