BSU convocation marks the start of Black History Month

The Black Student Union (BSU) Convocation held on February 7 kicked-off a series of events celebrating Black History Month.

Khurram Ahmed ’03 opened the evening with a Muslim call to prayer, spoken in Arabic.

Next Sharifa Wright ’03, president of the BSU, welcomed the audience and strongly encouraged everyone to partake in this month’s festivities.

Student speakers, Drees Griffin ’06, Ilunga Kalala ’05, Tope Akinyele ’03 and Robert Michelin ’03 offered the audience words of inspiration and encouragement.

Griffin gave the audience a map of directions that he felt would be sure to lead them on a path of righteousness. He encouraged students to check on others’ well-being and to share their thoughts by engaging in social exchanges. Following the theme of “My Brother’s Keeper,” Griffin said, “Keep [your brother or sister’s] dreams alive as well as your own.”

Recounting the story of the “Allegory of the Cave,” Kalala delivered a timely message through the modern art of Spoken Word. “Knowledge is useless without application,” said Kalala.

Akinyele spoke to the audience of the personal plight which led her to view the world from a different, more educated view. Through her experiences, she learned “[that there is] no victory without a struggle.” “I want [you] to learn to love other,” said Akinyele.

Lastly, Michelin gave the audience a bit of comic relief with some insightful jokes. On a serious note, he urged students to take care of themselves, so that they will be able to take care of others.

To culminate the evening’s events, Keenan Keller, Democratic Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, shared sentiments of political and mental reasoning, in a speech entitled “From Bebop to Hip-Hop.” He conveyed the ideals of how to lend a helping hand to a neighbor or just how to simply learn from one’s own upbringing.

Keller emphasized the fact that he is experienced enough to remember where he came from and has gained enough understanding to know not to forget that fact. He had to work hard and explored different facets of life to put him in the positions he now holds.

Keller concluded his speech by saying that an individual should never allow anyone to make the barriers for them, but to instead jump into things that look murky on the outside. He also encouraged audience members to run for any and every kind of public office available to them and to take advantage of all opportunities presented. He guaranteed that in time, everything would work out fine.

Keller, a graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, has served on numerous community boards. He was a law clerk to the Honorable Myron Thompson, Chief Judge of the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. He was also a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the Mount Pleasant community in Washington, DC and the Board of Trustees for the National Child Research Center.