Black History Month event at U focuses on spirituality

Liala Helal

Challenging attendees to use spiritual growth to strengthen their cultural ties, black students used plays and performances to look into their spiritual heritage Thursday at the St. Paul Student Center.

Alpha Omega: Impact Movement, a black Christian student group organized the fourth annual “Remembering our Spiritual Heritage.” The event portrayed ways how spirituality affects the black community.

“Because it’s Black History Month, we wanted to focus on it more spiritually,” said University student Faith Folayan, the main organizer of the event. “Being a black Christian organization, we want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, because that is our purpose and our mission.”

Students implemented this theme to show the audience “what is true and how the truth can set you free.”

The event consisted of several student performances in a play in which a college student spoke to God, asking him how she could set herself free from the frequent frustrations of her student life.

The event used gospel songs, spoken word, singing and dancing in the black culture to glorify God, event organizer and student Foluke Akanni said.

Throughout the evening, many of the 200 audience members laughed, clapped, snapped their fingers and sometimes sang along with the performers.

“It’s not only a cultural celebration of spiritual journey but also a chance to reach out and celebrate the unique cultures of our history and our unity,” said Wilt Hodges, a University student and former student director of Alpha Omega: Impact Movement.

“Being Christian means different things to a lot of people,” he said. “As a Christian, I believe in the sovereignty and diversity of God. Being an African American, how I live my Christian walk of life will have a different feel and flavor than the walk of a white or an Asian student on campus.”

Hibaq Warsame and Amira Adawe, who are not Christian but attended the event, said they came to prepare themselves to work with diverse people as family and social science students.

“We want to learn about working with people who are different from us and who have different beliefs, and hopefully we’ll get a deeper understanding about their different lives,” Warsame said.

One of the spoken-word performances was done by a white student, who said race is just an illusion and that people have more in common than they think.

After the event, many said they felt more united to different cultures and empowered by the message of the event.

“I think I really appreciated seeing different ways that spiritual history affects people and meets them today wherever they need to be met,” said

Wanda Classen, a member of the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship.