Culture Vault

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My culture is my power

I note the obvious differences in the human family. Some of us are serious, some thrive on comedy. Some declare their lives are lived as true profundity, and others claim they really live the real reality. The variety of our skin tones can confuse, bemuse, delight, brown and pink and beige and purple, tan and blue and white. I've sailed upon the seven seas and stopped in every land, I've seen the wonders of the world not yet one common man. I know ten thousand women called Jane and Mary Jane, but I've not seen any two who really were the same. Mirror twins are different although their features jibe, and lovers think quite different thoughts while lying side by side. We love and lose in China, we weep on England's moors, and laugh and moan in Guinea, and thrive on Spanish shores. We seek success in Finland, are born and die in Maine. In minor ways we differ, in major we're the same. I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. - Maya Angelou (Human Family)






Casa Verde


We Are The World




dear reader, Formerly known as the Caribbean Student Association (CSA), this organization was developed to provide a space for Caribbean students around campus. Our mission states that we work to create a home away from home for those among the diaspora. Even so, we have made it our prerogative to include individuals of all ethnicities and cultures. That is why our Annual Fashion Show has become a staple for our organization. Within our Fashion Show, we intend to showcase the diversity of our organization member-base, by drawing a parallel between multiculturalism and fashion. Initially beginning as a live runway fashion show, our intention was to allow students of various marks of life to not only observe the show, but to additionally participate within it, whether it be as a model or behind the scenes. Each year, we brought about something new, adjusting the theme and categories continually. Although the concept has not changed, our way of showing it has after rebranding our organization to the African Caribbean Student Association (ACSA). This is because, immediately following our rebrand, we were met with COVID-19, putting a halt on our annual event. We were required to take a year hiatus and in the midst of that break, we thought of something that could possibly change everything. We wanted to do the Fashion Show, but we needed a safer method. That is why we decided to transition our show into video format so that people can still feel the essence of the show despite our limitations. This will be our second year using this method and we are hoping that this becomes a new tradition for ACSA. With that in mind we introduce you to our Fifth Honorary Fashion Show. Welcome to Juggernaut.


"Here I come on my throne, sittin' high Follow my parade, oh, my parade Now here we come on our thrones, sittin' high Follow my parade, oh, my parade" - Beyonce (Black Parade)


senior - 2022 Ghana West Africa has many tribes with various kings and queens. With that in mind, I believe that all black people come from royalty in some way, shape, or form. Contemporarily, and throughout history, African printed clothing has been a key component in establishing status, by use of various different symbols and colors that represent status and royalty.

Ghanian culture is primarily welcoming, diverse, and creative. I have been able to channel this part of my culture by holding waist bead events and selling my products on campus. My goal is to spread awareness about natural things through my club, SJU Naturals.

I am a very artistic person and Ghanian attire has different colors, patterns, and symbols. So getting to mix and create styles has really impacted my style. My entire business is based on my culture and my yearn to spread it. I make waist beads and sell bonnets / durag's with African print. The earrings that I sell are also African or Adinkra symbols


"I believe all black people come from royalty in some way, shape, or form."



Black Royalty has always been an idealized concept, spoken of, but never truly analyzed. We find ourselves probing the abyss as we scramble for artifacts that could potentially connect us to one of the hidden faces of black royalty. As a fellow observer, here is a list of black royalty that should be just as much of a household name as King Henry III: I. Emperor Mansa Musa (Musa I, Mali) - Ruler of the Mali Empire - known to be one of the wealthiest men in history. II. Queen Ndate Yalla Mbdoj - Ruler of 19th century Senegal - remembered as one of the most formidable great queen's of Senegal.


III. Moshoeshoe (Mshweshwe) - Chief of the Sotho


Nation - remembered for his strong military and diplomacy. IV. Queen Ranavalona - Queen of Madagascar known for her success in fighting back against European colonization. V. King Gbudwe (Yambio) - Ruler of the Azande Nation - known most for fighting against the slave trade. VI. Empress Taytu Betul - Empress of Ethiopa known for her defeat of Italy, one of the six European powers. VII. Queen Aminatu - Nigerian Queen - known as a talented architect and a strong warrior, ruling an army of over 20,000 men.


"I'm living in that 21st century, doing something mean to it Do it better than anybody you ever seen do it Screams from the haters got a nice ring to it I guess every superhero need his theme music" - Kanye West (Power)


Donavin sophomore - 2024

I think it’s quite clear that simply being black in America, no matter where you’re from, shapes you in many significant ways. My culture has taught me how to shine and stand out when everyone is doing their best to keep you under. It has shaped me into a bold and unapologetic character. When considering remaining in touch with my culture, clubs like ACSA and BSU have had a major impact on keeping me connected.


McFly is the futuristic category in this show. I believe that this relates to African Americans because we are constantly fighting for not only a better future, but a future where we can prosper without repression. We are the builders of the past and we are building our future. We look to the past and desire to make the future contrast dramatically compared to it. Our eyes are always to the future and we fight an up hill battle to secure our rightful place in society.


"They're always trying to delete us from history books. 'Cowhand' became 'cowboy'. Did you know that? That's what they called us" - Concrete Cowboy (2021)


The legacy of the cowboy has lasted for centuries, becoming a dream that has graced the mind of nearly every young boy in the US, due to film and television adaptations of the lifestyle. From hit films like "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" (1966) and "Dodge City" (1939), we have encountered countless adaptations of the American cowboy. Supposedly historically accurate, there is one thing that these westerns can never get right; and that is the skin tone of their protagonist. The common trope of a true American Western is the premise of the lawful vs. the lawless--the lawless being depicted as Indigenous and Mexican men and women. That is where we get the concept of "Cowboys and Indians", two groups that have been depicted as being continually at odds. However, what we do not realize is that the accuracy of this concept is flawed. As a matter of fact, it is the complete opposite.


The first cowboys, or in this case vaqueros, were actually Indigenous Mexican men. They were known not only for their expertise in herding cattle, but additionally for their woven saddles and braided rope. The term "lasso" is actually derived from the Spanish term "lazo", which means "rope" in English. Due to their success as cowherders, these men went on to inspire white men as well. Along with the Indigenous Mexican Men, African American men and those of various other nationalities went on to become cowboys as well. With that in mind, our concept of the "colored cowboy" is not a myth at all. The memory of the vaquero may have been lost because of pop culture, but it is truly up to us to remember and value their legacy.


“As one descendant of a black cowboy explained, 'We didn't write the books. We didn't produce the movies. So we were politely deleted.' There is a conspicuous absence of the black cowboy recorded in the history of the American cattleranching industry. The role these men played in the settling of the Old West deserves scholarly attention." - Tricia Martineau Wagner, Black Cowboys of the Old West: True, Sensational, and Little-Known Stories from History

INTER•SECTION•ALITY The intersectional experience is unique to the individual.

Serving as an eminent crutch in the success of those who are oppressed, intersectionality is one of the most complex systems of inequality to exist. That is because it is defined as an interwoven method of oppression, in which an individual who fits into more than one oppressed group experiences the injustices of both. In other words, it involves separation, not solely based on race, but on sexuality, socioeconomic status, and a variety of other unique experiences. It is important to take into account the amount of categories one resides in, simply because they are most likely facing multiple modes of oppression. For example, a black women's intersectional experience is unique to her because she fits in both categories of oppression (she is both woman and black); a few other examples of those who withhold intersectional identities are trans

Latinax, black LGBTQ+, poor women, disabled women, and etc. Intersectional discrimination has the habit of plaguing our day-to-day lives, especially those who fit within the criterion. That includes work, pay, and benefits, television and media representation, quality of service, and a variety of other daily activities that may unintentionally (or intentionally) factor in multi-discriminatory behavior. With that in mind, it is necessary that you make it your prerogative to combat it. This can be done mainly by maintaining an open mind and listening to those who face this issue. The first steps to change is made through acknowledgement. More change can occur if we are willing to include others in this conversation.


"At the shadow of the mango tree I'm drawed in every palm of your hand And you rise up to the flowers Gardenеr of the Divine plans Every day you look for watеr The world is your garden In this house of yours There's a place for me” - Love Language, Juls




Shishira senior - 2022 Kerala, India

I have embraced my culture wholeheartedly, and carry it around me wherever I go. As a daughter of Indian immigrants, my parents have taught me a lot of what they grew up with and instilled it in me. My first language was Malayalam, and then in kindergarten I learned English. My culture is celebrated in many ways, but is most popularly appreciated through food and music, especially in Kerala. A lot of my family recipes have been passed down, so when I cook and eat Kerala food, I pay homage to the ones that lived before me. Whenever I listen to Malayalam and Tamil music, it also reminds me of home.

In Kerala, we celebrate Onam, where we celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Some of our activities involve setting up flowers in beautiful patterns, and layering women's hair with jasmine flowers. We also partake in folk dances, specifically Thiruvathira.

The people of India are not a monolith, wherever you go we are all widely different! There are many different religions and beliefs in India. There are 391 languages / mother tongues in India. "Indian" is not a language.


Madgee sophomore - 2024

Not only did I grow up in Haiti, my entire family lineage is also based in that country, so Haitian culture has shaped me the most and has made me into who I am today. Speaking in my native tongue with Haitian relatives is probably the easiest way to stay connected with my culture. In addition to that, my grandmother continues to cook authentic Haitian food, so that I can remain connected with the culinary side of my culture. I also listen to Haitian music and inform people of my culture, which additionally helps me keep in touch. In the past, Carnival has been one of the most celebrated times of the year. Every year we celebrate with music and parties everywhere, including parties on the beach, on the streets and in schools! The food and music is so overwhelming, but equally amazing. It is just a very fun time to spend with friends and family. In my culture people are warriors and fighters and usually seen as rough and hard-shelled, but deep down we're all very soft and caring of one another, which is why we fight so desperately for one another. Our history proves it and we continue to prove it to this day, even if we do it the wrong way. We love each other and we all believe that together we are strong.


In light of misconceptions created against us, I would like to combat them by saying that: 1) Our issues and problems are not our identity. Like any other countries, we have our problems, but they do not define us. 2) We are a vibrant, colorful country with an even more interesting past. We were the the first black country in the Western hemisphere to abolish slavery. 3) A lot of music has taken birth in Haiti, the most known being: Twoubado, Zouk and Kompa.

Leslie senior - 2022

Buddhism is one of largest religions within Vietnam, and it draws its texts and practices from other schools of Chinese Buddhism. Most Buddhist monks and laymen usually practice meditation and conduct ceremonial rituals to honor their ancestors. Instilled within these practices is a strong sense of reverence, which is reflected in the serenity and gentleness that is displayed through the moments of prayer. I've been a part of the Asian Student Association since my freshman year, and it's been such a great opportunity to meet other Asian Americans as well as Vietnamese Americans. As the president now, we try to take a cultural lens to every event that we put on, especially the ones that are familiar to the executive board. I also took Mandarin for about two years in college in order to connect with my Chinese background.

I identify as Vietnamese and Chinese. My culture shapes the way I seek out relationships. For example, I feel most comfortable when I'm around people of color, but especially those with a similar background as me. I didn't grow up with strong cultural ties to Vietnamese and Chinese culture, so I do experience a lot of conflict between not knowing enough and still identifying with those cultures.

When I was younger, my family and I would go into Chinatown to celebrate Lunar New Year. We would stay in the parking lot of an Asian supermarket watching the firecrackers and the parade of dragons. There are overlaps between Vietnamese and Chinese culture, however, they each have their own distinct traditions. Within Vietnam, and just like any other country, each region has their own culture and dialect. Like most cultures, food is a huge part of Vietnamese culture as it offers a sense of community, love, and family.



Dominican Republic

Haiti Jan. 1, 1804

Feb. 27, 1844


Jamaica May 20, 1902 Aug. 6, 1962

Trinidad & Tobago

Guyana Aug. 31, 1962


Aug. 6, 1962

The Bahamas July 10, 1973

Barbados Nov. 30, 1966


Suriname Feb. 7, 1974 Nov. 25, 1975


Saint Lucia Nov. 3, 1978 Feb. 22, 1979

St. Vincent

Belize Oct. 27, 1979 Sept. 21, 1981

St. Kitts and Nevis Sept. 19, 1983

Antigua Nov. 1, 1981



Participants Models: Jordan El Andrew Cooper Jala Cosley Daniella Campos Donavin Gomez Diana Martinez Susan Mbombab Madgee Pierre Louise Victor Price Leslie Quan Autumn Richardson Makiah Stephens Taylor Stokes Lenora Thomas ACSA Exec Board: President - Autumn Richardson Vice President - Makiah Stephens Treasurer - Susan Mbombab Assistant Director: Sierra Long Make-up: Fatmata Sakho Maliha Sadaf Videography / Editing: Kraig McClendon Photography: Makiah Stephens


In this book, we present you with our journey and growth as an organization. You experienced a manifestation of our vision in video and editorial format. We hope that this is an accurate representation of what we stand for as an organization. With the help of our models, crew, videographer, as well as those who have never given up on us, ACSA has become and is working toward being an organization centered in longevity and friendship. We hope that you enjoyed the show!



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