Motivation for success and its relevancy to the black community was a key theme in “Past to Present: The Progression of African-American Culture” last Thursday.
Sponsored by God’s Children of Integrity and The Office of Multicultural Services, the program attracted several late-comers, despite starting late itself because of technical difficulties.
After opening remarks, the event began with a poem from biology freshman Sherie Barnes.
She read “A Message to My Hater,” a poem about slavery, discrimination and racism.
Video presentations were displayed of black leaders who impacted society in forms of politics, music and liberal arts.
The first presentation incorporated a slideshow of photos representing the civil rights movement.
Group discussions were led by a group of panelists, including rhetoric and professional writing professor Fenobia Dallas and Desmon Daniel from the office of multicutural services.
Other members of the panel included accounting senior Vance Fulton and graphic design junior Katrina Murrell.
Daniel responded to the first presentation and gave importance to historical education.
“No matter how far we go we have to remember where we came from,” Daniel said. “The pursuit of knowledge will truly make you a better person.”
He emphasized that the school is a playground and students should take advantage of all that is offered.
Fulton discussed how he is one of those who has taken advantage of his resources.
As member of the Roberts Fellows, Fulton studied in China and Japan.
“Just the fact I was given an opportunity was an eye opening experience,” Fulton said.
“Back in the day, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to do that.”
Lack of confidence and motivation in the black community was discussed.
“You still have power even if you don’t exercise it,” Daniel said.
They discussed how some students don’t feel they can be successful.
Other speakers shared their stories of academic success and examined where the academically unsuccessful students were and why they were not at the program.
The question was raised why students seek degrees but aren’t willing to put in efforts for academic success.
One student told her story of why some students may not feel they can be successful.
She was doing exceptionally well in one of her classes when her professor approached her saying it was remarkable that she was passing.
In the past, the professor had mentioned black students stereotypically don’t do well in the class.
She discussed how a stereotype cannot be taken for truth.
“Just because of who I am, doesn’t mean anything about who I’m going to be,” the student said.
Students were told to not only focus on becoming academically successful for themselves, but also to bring knowledge and experiences earned back to where they came from, so others know that they can do it, too.
Students were challenged to motivate their peers and to not give up on them.
“If you don’t do that, we won’t have jobs at the University,” Daniel said.