The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Wakanda strong; Pan Africa Night unlocks Black history before slavery
Runoko Rashidi speaks with guests in the student center after speaking at Pan African night, hosted by the cultural awareness center April 27. Amari Smith | Staff Photographer | [email protected]

Amari Smith
Staff Reporter
[email protected]

City College celebrated the 22nd annual Pan Africa Night April 27 in the student center. The Cultural Awareness Center staff, Equity Coordinator Gerri Scott, the Black Student Union and students working in the Student Equity Office organized and promoted the event. People gathered together to learn about African culture before slavery.

“Nothing wrong with talking slavery, it just doesn’t start there,” said the event’s keynote speaker, Runoko Rashidi.

Runoko Rashidi is a scholar and lecturer in American history. Rashidi travels the world documenting and researching ancient artifacts in the African culture. Based in Los Angeles, California, as well as Paris, France, Rashidi has written 18 books on the topic of African history.

Rashidi’s discussion centered on Pan African Culture before slavery, including African dynasties, royalty, cultural and facial similarities that remain today, and how the information provided is documented as far back as 90,000 years. In reference to Marvel’s Black Panther film, Rashidi discussed how the fictional country of Wakanda gives the audience a glimpse of the potential Africa has and a goal for the African American community to strive for.

“History is not just dates, facts and figures. In fact, I think a lot of us are turned off to history because of how the content is presented,” said Rashidi.

Rashidi is currently preparing himself for his “Unforgettable Journey Tour” where he will be touring through the African communities in London, Paris, and Egypt educating people about African history. When he tours in the United States, Rashidi not only gives educational lectures, he takes groups of people to tour through some of the museums to see ancient African artifacts.

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The event began with a libation by Baba Taiwo Adesola, who came from Brooklyn, New York. A libation is a liquid that is poured as an offering, or a tribute to African elders to show respect. City College Umoja-SBA student, Jaira Fungula, asked for permission from an elder in the room to start the function. Cultural Awareness Center Coordinator Victoria Henderson greeted the crowd and directed people toward the refreshments. Drummer Kamau Mensah played alongside a group of live drummers while the refreshments were being served, drumming traditional African music.

During the event, Rashidi shared his thoughts on how he appreciates the drive within the youth, and how they are eager to learn more about their history and culture. He gave the audience a rare look at exclusive artifacts, photos of his travels, and shared what he learned along the way. Rashidi is glad that young people are coming together more and more with a mission to uplift their communities.

“Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something,” says Rashidi.

The City College Black Student Union members were among many who attended Pan African Night.

Trayzon White, vice president of the Black Student Union, said he is a firm believer in having pride in who you are. According to White, the black student union has been an active group on campus for the years 2010-2011. The program started again in 2016 and is now helping the community starting with City College. White believes that the founders who originally started the Black Student Union are passing the baton to the younger generation in the hope of increasing the academic and social statistics within the black community.

In attendance was Sac City’s Assistant Financial Aid officer, Temperance Bonner.

“I thought the (Pan African Night) event is much needed, and a very refreshing type of information was provided today. Being of African descent, I want to know more of who I am. It’s something that has stayed with me,” said Bonner.

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