by Curtis Middlekauff
The African American Alliance (AAA) is celebrating Black History Month this year with many different events. On Saturday, February 15, the Alliance held a school-wide blood drive. They aimed to provide blood donations to Blood Assurance and increase awareness of HIV. Blood donors had their blood tested for the virus, which according to AAA’s president, Davante Jennings (C’16), is the 2nd leading cause of deaths of African Americans after heart disease.
The next day, Sunday, February 16, there was a screening of the film, The Color of Friendship, at the Multicultural Center (MCC). The Disney film tells the story of a South African white girl who goes to live with a black American family. Both the white girl and the family learn to overcome their own prejudices as they come into contact with one another. According to Jennings, the movie is “not about trying to throw the past in people’s face, but rather a search for peaceful coexistence.” Films like these highlight the absurdity of prejudice; in reality, a common humanity unites us all. AAA also had a poetry slam on Thursday, February 20 and a step show on Saturday, February 22.
Both of these events aimed to celebrate parts of black culture and to connect Sewanee students of all races. Jennings noted that planning events brings the struggle to do both “events for us and by us, but not necessarily exclusively for us.” The hope is to host events that appeal to everybody in Sewanee, bringing us all closer together and making us more aware of each other’s backgrounds. Finally, AAA hosted Trivia Night at the Tavern on February 25 at 7 p.m. and a “My Black is Beautiful” event which aimed to be an “intimate affair featuring the African American faculty on campus in the MCC at 5 p.m.”