Black Female Appreciation Week featured events varying from Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority’s Miss Freshman Pageant Oct. 19 to a bus trip to the Million Woman March in Philadelphia Oct. 25 in celebration of black women on campus.
The week’s climax was a Black Female Appreciation Dinner in the Marvin Center Colonial Commons Friday. It featured poetry recited by Black People’s Union Vice President Dauda Griffin and master of ceremonies and Alpha Phi Alpha member Chandler Langham.
During the dinner, BPU President James Allen read a Bible chapter describing virtuous women, blind keyboard player Johannes Demos played an Ethiopian song entitled “I Love You” and Langham recited a self-composed poem entitled “Strong Black Woman.”
Last year, the celebration of black women was a single dinner, in contrast to the week of activities this year.
Students were invited to attend a Black People’s Union meeting to kick off the week and a breast cancer awareness discussion Tuesday. The Breast Cancer Awareness Forum explained to the five-member audience how to give self breast exam.
Anisa Latif, a BPU member, said more should have been done to promote this informative event. “The word was not spread as it should have been.”
A Miss Freshman Pageant was held to showcase the intellect and charity work of its four contestants, Latif said.
AKA member Autumn Saxton-Ross said the pageant also helped the freshmen adjust to college life. “It is not just a beauty pageant,” Saxton-Ross said. “We stress the overall campus experience.”
The contestants carried out community service as mentors at Slowe Elementary School and Miriam’s Kitchen, performed a talent, recited a Maya Angelou poem in synchronization and discussed political issues.
Beauty pageant winner Iris Allen addressed violence in society. “We need to get rappers to channel their negative energy and work toward a positive solution,” she said.
Allen received a $150 book scholarship as first prize, and runner-up Conair Guilliames received a $75 book scholarship.
Lisa Muhammad, author of Flowing like a River, Raging Like a Flood, also spoke during the week about the meaning of sisterhood.
“You first must be a sister to yourself … you must look into the mirror and embrace your whole self,” Muhammad said. “Most men and
women do not take time for reflection. You must really look into the mirror to the point where the reflection looks back at you.”
Muhammad said once women accept themselves, they must accept each other.
“Women are insecure. They are always waiting for each other’s faults to show, waiting for something to happen. This comes from inside dissatisfaction,” she said. “People have problems with others because they have problems with themselves.”
Muhammad said women must treat each other with respect or men will not respect them.
“The black woman is disrespected so much, that it is almost considered a norm, even a characteristic of our society,” Langham said at the dinner.
“Nobody makes entertainment like black people, not whites, Mexicans, Asians, Jews, Indians and not even Africans. This is because we are the only culture of people with music that calls our women `bitches,’ `hos,’ `sluts’ and `hootchie mommas,’ ” he added.
“First we have to appreciate ourselves. Then we can appreciate each other. Then we can be appreciated by others,” Latif said.
“(Women) are the beginning, end and future to our survival,” Langham said.