Some African college students
have found a way to share a piece of the continent with their American peers.
No more home-sickness
African Students Association at the University of Maryland is creating a home
away from home. The group sponsors activities to promote awareness of African
life and culture. The president, Idris Shinaba, says he wants to help change
stereotypes of Africa.
group meets weekly and discusses various topics. On this day the topic is
"Fresh off the Boat." Students discuss challenges of assimilating into the American
For example, one student says "I noticed that in high school, the first day
people come, they had their dashiki on. By the next week, there was calling
people 'yo man,' cursing at people. I think it's unfortunate that people feel
like they have like to assimilate to this country and can't (embrace) their own
Another student says "In high school, there was like some new [fad]…where every word you speak is Crio [like] 'hey my brother.' But in
middle school and elementary school, you
hide the fact that you (were) African."
Americans are also members of the
association. The group's secretary, Guillaume Kasten-Sportes, is a white
American who says he joined the group to practice French, his first language.
Ames is an African American student. She says she does not like the distinction
between the black cultures on the campus. Ames hopes that one day all black
people will be united.
think that the main difference is that some people came here in chains and
other people came here freely."
students give back to Africa through a fundraising campaign. Reggae artist Damian Marley, son of the late Bob
Marley, is scheduled to perform this year. The proceeds will benefit the Waterworks
Development Program in Africa.
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