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politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback


table of contents editors’ note 3 politics 5

A WORD FROM OUR SA WINNERS

on campus 10

co-editors-in-chief Chasidy Lowe chazlowe@gwmail.gwu.edu Adam Middleton admmdltn@gwmail.gwu.edu

copy editor

Brooke Oki okib@gwmail.gwu.edu

layout artist

STUPID DOPE MOVES

Angel Veliz sdotfly@gmail.com | www.sdotfly.com

culture 12

REVIEW: ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER

feature 14

BEVERLY BOND: THE KEYNOTE SOUL REVUE

article flashback 18

SANKOFA: WRITING THE BLACK AUTOBIOGRAPHY THROUGH UNITY COMES OPPORTUNITY

promotional team Bryson Rouzan-Thomas Betsy Awelachew thenewace@gmail.com

photography

Nana Agyeman thenewace@gmail.com

_______________________

founder

Sam P.K. Collins

editor-in-chief emeritus Kwasi Agyeman

faculty advisor Professor Robin Marcus

We’re looking for new staff! Email us personally or at thenewace@gmail.com if you’re interested in writing, reporting, photography, design, publication, or simply in helping out the premier publication of the multicultural community at GW!

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The Ace Magazine is funded in part by a generous grant from Generation Progress, a national organization that works with and for young people to promote progressive solutions to key political and social challenges.

thenewace@gmail.com | @theacemag | theacemagazine | @theacestagram


editors’ note

Severus Snape Chasidy Lowe

What I enjoy about multicultural traditions at GW is the emphasis on legacy, and The Black Heritage celebration is always a reminder of how amazing the student leaders of this university are. I would like to thank The Black Heritage Committee for hosting an amazing BHC and engaging the public in much needed conversations. Black History Month is a moment for black people to come together and perform the revolutionary act of selflove, which is why the theme this year “All Black Everything” was so fitting. In this issue you will find a celebration of the black community, and an opportunity to reflect on how to make the community even better next year. As this semester draws to an end, I am reminded of how integral The ACE has been in my college experience. I have grown with the magazine, and I want to thank everyone that has contributed to the magazine over the past three years. But don’t be too sad, we still have one more issue left! The beloved Senior Issue will be released next month so stay tuned to see your favorite seniors in next month’s issue. Until then, stay strong!

Regulus Black Adam Middleton Though every year at the George Washington University is different, there are many traditions that stand the test of time season after season. One such tradition is the Black Heritage Celebration. I am so proud of our community for the month of programming BHC turned out to be from start to finish. While biased in my opinion that Soul Revue may have been the best event on the calendar, from kickoff to finale, #GWBHC2014 was a huge success by any measure. This issue is dedicated to BHC and black excellence across the board. We’ve also included letters from our recent student body elections winners, in hopes of laying the ground work for any even better year for our community this coming fall. Ready or not, now is the time to start gearing up for 2014– 2015. But first, let’s get through exams.

Brooke Oki

Welcome to our penultimate issue of the year! In this issue, we have covered the people, places, and events that composed this year’s Black Heritage Celebration. Like the theme of BHC, I hope this issue illustrates the value of our multi-cultural identity and through journalism exhibits the value of writing by us, for us, and about us. The ACE Magazine, like any student-run organization, has had its up and downs, but our message has and will always be the same. As this school year ends, and I and the rest of the class of 2014 depart, I truly hope we can pass down the importance of this publication to the entire multicultural community. Good luck with finals everyone, and have a wonderful end to the year!

I cannot believe that we’re nearing the end of another semester. My greatest thanks to everyone who remains patient with and supportive of The ACE Magazine. With just one issue left, our annual Senior Send-Off, we’re working hard to make our goodbye to the class of 2014 an apt tribute to one of the most engaged and involved classes this university has ever seen. Until then, enjoy this issue and we’ll see you next month!

The Ace Magazine Mission: last issue

Bellatrix Lestrange

The Ace Magazine connects the multicultural community to the university at-large with contributions from student writers and faculty members. Since 2008, The Ace has sparked discussion between campus groups furthering our belief that “we all have similar issues no matter our color.”


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politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback

A WORD FROM OUR SA WINNERS

President

_________________________________

M

NICK GUMAS

y name is Nick Gumas and I am a junior double majoring in Political Science and Political Communication from New York City. During my time at GW, I have served as Chair of the Student Association Senate’s Student Life Committee as well as president of Allied in Pride, our University’s largest LGBT student advocacy organization. The other week, I was fortunate enough to be elected as the next Student Association (SA) President. The SA has long been an effective means for accomplishing student advocacy projects on our campus. From renovating Gelman Library to moving our health and wellness resources to a centralized location on campus, the SA has consistently fought to improve the lives of students on our campus. Next year, our newly elected Executive Vice President, Avra Bossov, and I will work with the different communities College students on our campus to build the successes of past are seeking mental on student leaders to make health services at our University even better.

record numbers and universities are struggling to keep up.

Out of all of the initiatives outlined in my platform, nothing is quite as important as establishing

a volunteer peer-counseling program. College students are seeking mental health services at record numbers and universities are struggling to keep up. Now that we are moving our health and wellness resources to a centralized location on campus, demand for these services will only go up. This new program can help alleviate the increased demand, while offering students the help that they need. A peer-counseling program would allow students, who for whatever reason may feel uncomfortable speaking to a professional or cannot afford professional services, the opportunity to speak to a trained peer for free. This would be an incredibly important development. For a lot of students seeking mental health services, cost is a significant barrier. The services provided by the peer-counseling program will be free. Additionally, many students who need mental health services do not seek out help because of the stigma associated with field. This program would provide students with the opportunity to give back to their community and help eliminate the stigma and myths associated with mental health. Currently, the University Counseling Center (UCC) offers a variety of mental health services ranging from one-on-one sessions with a counselor to support groups for various topics. Under the leadership of Silvio Weisner, the center’s new director, the UCC has been able to significantly cut down on waiting times and expand its


politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback professional staff. The UCC is a valuable asset to our University community and many students rely on its services on a daily basis. It is important to understand that the purpose of a peer-counseling program is not to replace the wonderful services offered by the UCC, but to complement these services. For example, many students who go to the UCC only go once because they were having a bad day or just needed someone to talk to. If these students have the opportunity to speak to a trained peer, the professionals at the UCC can better use their resources for students that need long-term care.

programs have made a significant impact on these communities. For students seeking help, talking about a problem is often the first step to solving a problem. Our students need a peer-counseling program, and if we work together, we can successfully bring this program to our University.

Volunteer peer-counselor applicants will go through extensive training and must pass a pre-approved curriculum on issues such as crisis management, self-esteem, and sexual violence. Peer counselors will be there primarily to listen, not give professional advice. These peer counselors will be trained to identify red flags and will immediately refer students who need professional help to the UCC.

If you or are friend need to talk to someone. Please contact the University Counseling Center by calling (202) 994-5300.

I am incredibly excited for the upcoming year and am looking forward to working with Avra, as well as student leaders throughout this campus, to improve our University. Please feel free to always reach out to me about any questions or suggestions you may have.

We have seen successful peer-counseling programs at schools across the country, most notably at Cornell University. Peer counseling

_________________________________ apart of the 2014 Colonial Cabinet. As a second term freshman, I am sincerely grateful for the opportunities that I have been allowed while attending here at GW. From taking pictures with Ms. Israel, who ended up in the same elevator with me in Marvin, to receiving an education taught by some of the top professional in their field, I take each and every opportunity I receive with the utmost honor, respect, and humility. I am gracious to serve the students of not only the School of Business, but also the multicultural community. I intend to take each student organization and cultural background that is apart of me In my platform, I and represent them in the upcoming discussed my intentions fully Student Association of assisting low income administration, also serving students financially, while the general body continuing the push to the best of my capabilities.

GWSB Undergraduate Senator _________________________________ CARLO A. WOOD

for student space..and bridging the gap of communication between administration and students.

I

would first like to thank each and every individual who supported and voted for me throughout this past election to become one the School of Business senators for 2014-2015 Student Association administration. Your encouragement was truly appreciated and well received.

In my platform, I discussed my intentions of assisting low income students financially, continuing the push for student space, specifically for the School of Business, and bridging the gap of communication between administration and students. During my term, I plan to use my resources to develop lasting and meaningful relationships with to create lasting impacts in regards to these objectives. A key part of these relationships to form are with you, the student body. Therefore, I would like to once again say that I am always willing

As a representative of the School of Business and the multicultural community, I feel it is necessary for you to know more about me as an individual and as a leader. With that being said, I am a current freshman from Newnan, GA majoring in Business Administration. Some extracurriculars I am apart of include being a member of the Black Student Union, Allied in Pride, Black Men’s initiative, a legislative assistant for the Student Association, along with being

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politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback and eager to meet and discuss any questions, concerns, or ideas that anyone of the student body is willing to offer. I am a strong believer that perspective is key, which is why I have reached out to my highly intellectual and creative opponents during the election to hopefully incorporate some of their ideas and input into this upcoming year’s agenda. In the wise words of Helen Keller, “Along we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

hope for myself, this university, and my peers, and I hope that you will do me the honor and have the same for me.

So my fellow Colonials, brothers, and sisters, thank you once again for you wisdom in academics and social excellence, and thank you for your support throughout my campaign! Not only during this election, but from the moment I stepped foot onto the campus with people that can truly change the world. I have high expectations and

_________________________________ already discussed this option with the Dean of the Columbian College, Dean Ben Vinson, and he is down for the cause. However, this means that students actually have to come out to the meetings to provide feedback about how the administration is doing, and what they can improve upon.

CCAS Undergraduate Senator _________________________________ DAMONTA MORGAN

F

irst of all, I would just like to express my deepest gratitude to all of those who supported me in the latest election. Your vote tells me that you care about the things that I care about: demanding transparency from the administration and the student leaders who comprise the SA, Increasing funding for student organizations, and improving the CCAS Advising experience for all undergraduate CCAS students. It is my intent to be a strong student advocate on our campus, to view challenges in a balanced and pragmatic manner, and to continue to provide a firm and independent voice for you, the students. I will not hesitate to tap into the collective wisdom of past and current student leaders (in all schools) to do so! I will strive to foster the most robust shared governance possible with both the University Administration, and the Student Association leaders. One of the ideas that I have that will work towards bringing the administration closer to the students is through a town hall style forum. In this forum, leaders from the Columbian College and the Student Association will present the objectives that they are currently working towards on the behalf of the students. I have

Another very important aspect of my campaign was to increase funding for the student organizations on campus. I think it is crucial to the progress of the entire University that each organization is adequately funded. Some of the organizations that have the broadest reach into the community are the ones that are underfunded. I think it is crucial to The re-evaluation of the funding process will allow the progress of the for the incorporation of entire University that scope into the calculations when allocating funds. each organization is Therefore, these adequately funded. organizations with small membership and broad scopes will have a better chance at appropriate funding. I recently realized that one of the main faults that I have with this platform point is its contingency upon my place in the Senate. In order to make any kinds of real strides towards funding equality, I would have to be a member of the finance committee. However, committee member or not, I will do the most I can to achieve this goal. Once again, I must confess that I am eager to serve you all as Senator for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. My term technically starts Fall 2014, however, I think that to make the most impact for the next year, I need to start immediately! Therefore, I will be having another meeting with Dean Vinson sometime in the next two weeks to discuss revising the Graduation Application for our rising juniors, and also performing a thorough evaluation of the Core curriculums for the Columbian College.


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politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback

They’re Coming…

The 2014 Senior Superlatives plus our annual top ten & more

May 2014


politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback

STUPID DOPE MOVES:

JAHDAI KILKENNY’S INNOVATIVE ART SHOW By Brooke Oki

T

o most non-art majors, GW’s Gallery 102 is an unheeded and often overlooked student run art space merged between 23rd street and the Academic Center. But on February 20th, the gallery was abuzz with activity during the reception to senior Jahdai Kilkenny’s art show entitled, “Stupid Dope Moves.” From February 17th-28th the gallery displayed the vibrant and thought-provoking artworks of featured student artists handpicked by Kilkenny. The show’s theme, hip-hop music, was a carefully selected choice. But as for the title, Kilkenny explained, “it just came me.”

fascinates me. This is what drove me to channel this power into art.” All of the artists that participated in the show have been influenced by hip-hop too. Kilkenny merely asked her artists to create pieces that displayed aspects of hip-hop culture; what those aspects were and the significance behind them was left to the artist’s discretion. Senior Christie Malvin’s piece, which spoke to the objectification of the female body in hip-hop music, boldly displayed a mold of her backside surrounded by flower petals. “Stupid Dope Moves” is certainly a change from the productions typically on display in Gallery 102, and Kilkenny was well aware of this fact. She began proposing her show in early November 2013 keeping in mind her goal: to make art more accessible to people outside of the art sphere and to bring awareness to those within the art world that hip-hop culture could give rise to great art as well.

Kilkenny’s highly successful display commanded the space attracting students, faculty members, and numerous passers-by. It was bold, bright and—true its hip-hop theme—influential. So why choose hip-hop as the show’s focus? Kilkenny’s answer was simple, “Hip-hop was the reason I got into art,” she said. “During my freshman year, I took up photography and began photographing hip-hop concerts here in DC and back home in New York. As I dove into the environmental photography of hip-hop artists, my interest in the art field grew and I switched from the business school to become a fine arts major.”

“I wanted to introduce people to art through a popular medium. I hope this show will achieve that.” Her goal was surely realized. Many of Kilkenny’s family and friends attended the show’s reception stepping into Gallery 102 for the first time.

But even more than hip-hop’s music, Kilkenny states that it is hip-hop’s culture and the large impact it has on society that truly fascinates her.

“It was a proud moment,” Kilkenny said, “I was able to show everyone ‘Jahdai the Artist’ not just the fine arts major. Eventually, I’d want to open up my own gallery that showcases urban contemporary art. ‘Stupid Dope Moves’ was just the first step.”

“So much of the media, fashion, and many other music forms are heavily influenced by hip-hop culture. The power hip-hop embodies

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politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback


politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback

REVIEW: ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER By Chasidy Lowe

T

here are few dance performances that begin with thunderous screaming and applause from the audience, but the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is the exception to this norm. On opening night at the Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, the evening began with artistic director Robert Battle demanding call and response from the audience as he tells the audience, “I heard you were all loud and raucous.” The concept is a tradition in the African American church where the preacher says something to which the audience is expected to respond, making the communication more democratic and engaging. And this expectation of a participative, active audience set the foundation for the rest of the evening, which included a spontaneous, lively, and expressive performance.

the music, and the dance becomes about the physicality of sound. This is most apparent when we see a pairing of three male dancers together; their bodies are fluid, and the pairing offer a sensuality typically shown in male/ pairings. The men By the end of the female share weight and turn performance, it is each other, offering a take on the clear that the spirit is refreshing classic male/female pas celebratory and the de deux. Moreover, there an elongation of the movements suggest isbody, particularly the legs that by helping one and neck. In a pairing Alicia Graf Mack another their spirit between and Vernard J. Gilmore, it triumphs over loss. is clear that Mack is taller than her partner. But this unconventional pairing is rather well matched for the purposes of this performance. Mack extends from the neck and elongates it, and her legs appear impossibly long as they extend far beyond the length of Gilmore’s body. The maximization of length and contortion of movement create an abstract image as the dancers move throughout the space. The dance, which has typically been performed by largely white ballet companies, was altered slightly for Ailey’s unique dancers. Chroma was intended to be an expression of color, and becomes a literal interpretation of that as the black dancers contort their bodies in a white world.

The company, which is often credited with popularizing modern dance and creating a space for African-Americans in the contemporary dance world, is deeply rooted in African American cultural expression. Unlike the standard four-part ballet, the line up for the evening was segmented into three unique pieces. While the choreography varied between Chroma, D-Man in the Waters (Part 1), and Revelations, the energy, emotionality, and athleticism that the company is known for was consistent throughout. The evening began with a premiere performance of Chroma, an abstract, futuristic ballet by British choreographer Wayne McGregor that is making its debut in the modern dance world with the Alvin Ailey company. The piece, meant to be an expression of color, is staged against an all-white set designed by John Pawson, and is juxtaposed with beautiful brown bodies in varying pastel costumes. As the dancers sweep their bodies across the stage, they paint a canvas. There is a unique musicality to performance, as the dancers move to the orchestrations by John Talbot and Jack White of the White Stripes. The whole body essentially becomes a canvas for the music; the image reminds me of seeing deaf artist Christine Sun Kim create paintings using sound, as the paint drops gyrate and shake to the vibrations of the sounds from speakers.

The second part to the evening was D-Man in the Waters (Part 1) choreographed by Bill T. Jones, which depicts the hope and will to survive of a generation plagued by loss during the AIDS epidemic. In the playbill, a quote from artist Jenny Holzer reads, “In a dream you saw a way to survive and you were full of joy.” The piece is indeed jovial, and ethereal; the dancers bounce and leap across the stage to music in a set where images of clouds are projected. The sense is that it’s almost otherworldly, and there is an air of bliss that resonates throughout the piece. The dance begins on a comedic note, and this continues throughout the performance. Dancers fall and slide across the stage and jump on each other’s backs creating a

In some ways the dance is one of spontaneity, although the moves are extremely calculated. The dancers contort their bodies along to

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politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback spirit of playfulness. The movements are all about emotion; so technical dancing is largely omitted for movements that express musicality and feeling. There are many movements that are associated with modern dance, such as frequent rolls and less linear lines of the body. And the movement of the piece is continuous; there are rarely any moments of stillness. While there are few movements where the dancers slowly fall to their knees, the dance rarely expresses any sentimentality that can be described as somber. Even during what appears to be a processional walk to the afterlife, the dancers walk with a slight bop to their step. The choreography leaves no room for sadness, only a communal feeling of joy. The dance features the entire group dancing more as an ensemble than in solos or partnering, further developing a sense of unity amongst this small community of people. And mutual assistance is featured in the movements as the dancers share their weight and largely play off of each other’s bodies. There is one particular scene where one of the male dancers is surrounded by four women and catches them, and when he falls, they catch him. There is a unique balance that is struck, as the dancers whether male or female, support one another. By the end of the performance, it is clear that the spirit is celebratory and the movements suggest that by helping one another their spirit triumphs over loss. The evening ended with perhaps Alvin Ailey’s most famous performance Revelations. The piece is remarkable in its musicality and emotion. Ailey choreographed the dance in a way that is almost theatrical. The choreography moves the audience through AfricanAmerican cultural history, from slavery to the pulpit of the black church, with the help of accompanying black gospel songs and spirituals. There is a sense of deep grief in the opening section “Pilgrim of Sorrow” as dancers are seemingly on top of each other, similar to the way slaves were brought to this nation laying spoon fashion, in the filthy hatches of slave ships. Throughout the performance, there is heaviness to the movements, but the strength in the dance comes from the music. The mood is solemn, and the dim lighting and brown costume design contribute to this aura. But

the mood is mostly sustained as the dancers contract and release their torsos, as if they are being weighed down by their grief. In the second section “Take me to the Water”, a baptism scene is reenacted and the dancers are dressed in all white, as yards of blue cloth stretch across the stage symbolizing water. The dancers sweep and leap and expand across the length of the stage in very fluid movements. Perhaps the most powerful scene in this section is when dancer Glenn Allen Simms performs a solo as a man who appears to prepare for death. This particular dance largely occurs on the ground, and the movements resemble body movement awareness exercises. There are elements of spatial and body awareness that express emotion in a powerful way; the body is not limited by rules of technique but moves in a way that is free. Simms rolls around the ground, expanding and contracting his limbs communicating an end to a journey and a release from the grief of the world. The final part of Revelations, “Move, Members, Move,” features powerful gospel music. The most compelling scene is the one set in the black church because the movements remind me of ones I saw growing up when I would accompany my god-family to church. The dancers used fans and jumped and gyrated like the Holy Ghost had possessed them. The movements depict a story that many African Americans are at least somewhat familiar with, and as a result, evoke visceral reactions as one is transported to their time in the church. At one point the energy of the dance becomes transient as audience members stood and sang along to “Rock My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham” in the final scene. The performance takes you on a journey spiritually, from sorrow to joy and the emotionality transcends the performance into the audience in a way that is rare. After leaving the Alvin Ailey performance, one’s soul is elated. What is so special about the company is their energy. The dancers feel the music and movement in a way that awakens the senses, and the audience leaves changed by their overwhelming generosity of spirit on stage. And while there may be criticism of how well new choreography like Chroma fits in the repertoire, and whether or not the performance of said piece was as sound as it should’ve been, there is no doubt that the company delivered.


politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback

BEVERLY BOND: THE KEYNOTE By Adam Middleton

O

n February 5th, DJ by night and creator of Black Girls Rock by day, Beverly Bond gave the annual Black Heritage Celebration keynote address, culling her experiences to deliver a speech to “highlight our responsibility to carry the standard of excellence through the 21st Century.”

of black women, she set out to create Black Girls Rock. A nod to her primary career as a mistress of the turntables around the country, Bond said, “The black girl image needed a remix.” Ending the evening by taking questions and comments for a few minutes, Bond left many students wanting more. To her credit, Bond is no academic and took on the challenge of opening one of the multicultural community’s most important months. On the contrary, when you stand her next to previous keynote speakers like author Michael Eric Dyson and poet Sonia Sanchez, what was supposed to be a haymaker of knowledge and activism mobilizing students for a month of progress and reflection, became little more than a public appearance by a big name. The ACE Magazine remains grateful of Ms. Bond’s time and thankful for her message, but steadfast in its responsibility to recognize the student body’s needs. We needed more.

Speaking in front of dozens at the Dorothy Betts Theatre in the Marvin Center, Bond echoed a familiar message of remembering the path paved before us and using it as empowerment for the future. “We stand on the shoulders of giants,” she remarked, pointing out that every ethnicity cannot claim such a position. Bond, donning all black to fit the month’s theme, mixed her words of encouragement with reminders of the work to be done in our communities. At one of the more serious points in her address, Bond underscored how only 14% of black eighth graders score at or above the proficient level in And in the media, she Bond..mixed reading. called African Americans the her words of most careless with our image, modern programming encouragement with calling a “flagrant assault on black reminders of the women” in particular.

Luckily, there was more: a month of substantive programming. The 2014 Black Heritage Celebration brought the best out of the Multicultural Student Services Center and all of its student organizations. Each day brought something unique to the month. As Beverly Bond said, we do indeed “stand on the shoulders of giants,” and I look forward to seeing students make next year’s BHC reach new heights.

work to be done in our communities.

However, this “doesn’t absolve us of our voice, power, resonance,” Bond fired back. Recognizing the need for a new platform for the celebration

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We would like to close this issue with a flashback of our 2009 coverage of the Black Heritage Celebration Keynote, as a look at GW past, to reflect on GW present and future. —Ace Senior Staff

COVER STORY  SANKOFA: Writing the Black Autobiography. Madebo Fatunde   On  February  3rd,  I  sat  with  many  of  you  in  Betts Theatre to hear esteemed Professor Dyson de‐ liver his keynote speech on the Black History Celebra‐ tion’s theme, Sankofa. The speech was an entertain‐ ing  and  inspirational  appraisal  of  both  how  far  we  have come and what we have yet to accomplish. The  speech, much like his body of work was a celebration  and  a  conscientious  exploration  of  our  history  and  culture.     Personally  I  have  always  had  a  few  qualms  about  the  entire  concept  of  Black  History  Month,  seeing  it  as  a  sensationalized,  insufficient,  and  jaded  blip  on  the  wider  plane  of  American  History.  How‐ ever, hearing my peers’ reactions to Dr. Dyson’s dia‐ tribe reminded me of the fierce need for this time of  reflection on the past. Dyson, mentioned “The United  States  of  Amnesia,”  referring  to  the  loss  of  identity  that accompanied the forceful separation of the Afri‐ can Diaspora. Sankofa, an equally forceful recovery of  that  past,  goes  beyond  mere  reflection  and  further  implies a retroactive rewriting of American and World  history which includes our stories. We as the upcom‐ ing  generation  have  not  only  an  unprecedented  agency  to  do  so,  but  an  obligation  to  proclaim  both  our existence and legitimacy to the rest of the human  world.  In  the wake  of  a  historic  presidential  election  which placed one of our own at the head of our de‐ mocracy,  Dyson  warns  us  against  complacency.  The  greatest  possible  celebration  of  the  achievements  and  struggles  of  the  past  is  to  achieve  better  in  the  present. Most as a man who dedicated his life to the  public  intellectual  evaluation  of  the  past  and  most  importantly  its  impact  on  the  present,  Dr.  Dyson  of‐ fered  himself  as  a  bridge  for  us  to  cross  over  in  our  own search for our subdued pat in the hopes that we  will carry with us into an uncertain future the legacies  and the lessons of our pregnant past.    To this end, Dyson frequently employed the  Adinkra symbol from the Asante tribe of a bird pluck‐ ing an egg off of it’s back. Dyson impressed upon us  the importance of being informed, but not limited by  our past. As the vanguard of not only our race but the  world we’ve inherited, it rests upon us, not our presi‐ dent to affect the change we wish to see around us.  

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politics • on campus • culture • feature • article flashback

COVER STORY 

Through Unity Comes Opportunity Jordan Chisolm   I look at this as a reflection of the Black Student Union, the organization that represents the  community that I have come to love in my time here at GW.  Through Unity Comes Opportunity is the  phrase that has given the BSU its direction for the 2008‐2009 academic year.  To some, it may seem  like your average corny theme for an organization meant to give a quick alternative to the mission  statement.  To others, it may seem like a pointless expression altogether, as they perceive the BSU’s  mission as clear and not in need of further supplementation.  To me however, this theme signifies  much more than a simple catchphrase.  Through Unity Comes Opportunity is a notion that gives a reflective commentary on our peo‐ ple and the centuries we have spent on this continent from the perspective of your average black GW  student.  The struggles that we experience here at GW mirror the struggles of the community as a  whole.  Movements start when strong leaders emerge as voices to take on the powers that be, but it is  without a doubt that our strength lies in a collective understanding of where we need to be.  We are a  community that takes injustice personally, as our plight is a constant reminder of its existence.  Time  after time, history has shown that there has never been a force so formidable united.  The BSU comes  in to provide that voice of leadership and representation at GW, to help start those movements and to  continually inspire students to keep the bigger picture in mind.  Without the BSU and a vibrant com‐ munity, I certainly would still be the lost soul that I was freshman year without any new awareness of  what it truly means to be an educated black man.  The question remains, why does this year deserve its own theme?  Now more than ever, be‐ ing an educated black person means more.  Through Unity Comes Opportunity signifies a moment in  time where our community saw the absolute epitome of our progress through the election of our na‐ tion’s first black president.  It signifies a moment in time where begin to realize the value of being edu‐ cated and having a dedication to supporting each other and those who are not afforded our opportu‐ nity.  However, that this triumph is able to occur at a time when injustices such as more black men  being in prison than in college, the gentrification of our most vibrant communities, and the unresolved  aftermath of Hurricane Katrina [which occurred over three years ago] still occur signifies a great deal  of work for all of us.  I take solace however, in our community’s past and the fact that will ultimately  always answer the call to step up.  Dr. Michael Eric Dyson broke it down better than I ever could.  We are still writing our own  autobiography through our everyday experiences at GW, but it is easy to lose sight of exactly why we  are here.  This is exactly why the notion of Sankofa is important.  We must go back and take the best  and worst times of our people, and use that as a guide to direct our future.  Sankofa: Writing the Black  Autobiography; the two ideas cannot exist without each other.  It is up to us to figure out how we con‐ nect the two to move forward.  It is my strong belief however, that we have accomplished this feat,  and that we continue to address the problems that every one of us faces, as individuals and as a com‐ munity together with a powerful yet comforting idea; Through Unity Comes Opportunity.  I have come to love this community, the BSU and everything that we represent.  I thank and  applaud the BSU Executive Board for continuing to fight with me and for the community, and know  that without their dedication and continued belief, the BSU would not be successful.  I especially con‐ 7 gratulate Catherine Davis, another great leader, and the BHC Committee for orchestrating one of the  most memorable Black Heritage Celebrations ever.    Peace and love,  Jordan Chisolm, BSU President 

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