Student organizations embrace the 400th anniversary
Ellie Sherry — Reporter
Four hundred years ago, the first ship full of Africans sailed to the Americas. This started what would be a long path to liberation and freedom. In 1619 there was a ship that arrived in what would become Hampton V.A., where 20 Africans were held on its ship. This was the first documented instance of people of color being in what would become the United States many years later.
To honor the 400th anniversary, Southern decided to hold an event in which several student body groups such as F.A.C.E., Black Student Assocation, National Association for the Advancedment of Colored People, Organization of Latin American Students, Caribbean Student Association and Sisters in School Together Achieving Success, performed throughout the night to show what 1619 meant to them. One of the first groups to go on stage was CSA.
For their performance, they put on a skit depicting the Haitian circle of the events surrounding slavery.
After that was OLAS, which began with a discussion of Christopher Columbus Day and all of the hardships that he and his men brought to the New World. Then the president of the club Chelsey Cerrato, read a poem by Craig Santos Perez titled“Interwoven.” The point of the poem was to help people get their name and power back, according to Cerrato.
“I feel like sometimes something a lot of people forget is that slavery did not only
happen in America,” said recreation major Kendall Manderville, a senior.
Black Student Union began their performance with a YouTube clip of a man singing a sorrowful song about race. While the clip was playing, the lights were off in the room, and the members of the BSU all came out and stood with their backs turned dressed in all black with their hoods up. After the video, a member of the club, Chelsea Brooks, read a monologue about the police force in America.
The piece focused on the issues of race and how the police think they are not racist. The monologue made justifications such as, “‘I don’t care if you’re black, white, yellow, or green. Regardless of what color you are, if I think you are up to no good, I will apply exactly the same force in shooting you dead. For every unarmed black man I shoot, I shoot an equal number of unarmed white men. For every black male teenager I frisk, I strip search two Asian grandmas.’”
After BSU finished their performance, four members of S.I.S.T.A.S. came up to the front of the room, and they each did their own act or skit. Two of the main skits were part of Andra Day’s Rise Up, and an original poem called “Black Girl Fly.”