All Black Everything symposium inspires attendees

The Guilford College step team prepares for its dance routine, which was performed during the All Black Everything Symposium and Africana Change Jr. Summit on Wednesday Feb. 28, 2018 at Hege Library. //Photo By: Fernando Jiménez/The Guilfordian

Members of the Guilford community and over 60 James B. Dudley High School students attended the All Black Everything Symposium and Africana Change Jr. Summit on Wednesday Feb. 28 at Hege Library.

The event was organized by the Multicultural Education Department in collaboration with the Black History Month Committee and Office of Student Leadership. It consisted of five workshops covering topics ranging from how to embrace one’s culture and identity to the spread of Yoruba Culture through the African Diaspora.

Krishauna Hines-Gaither, the director of the MED, explained how this year’s theme, “for the culture,” is aimed at celebrating Black History Month and extending Guilford’s influence beyond campus.

“I think it is really important to reach out to students in black communities and do more college-access programs,” said Hines-Gaither. “The teachers from Dudley High School that chaperoned today said, ‘Please make a way to bring more students next year.’ They want even more of their students to experience this event, and that to me is the icing on the cake.”

The first workshop of the symposium focused on the college admission process and the importance of financial aid. Associate Director of Admission Terra Roane and Director of Financial Aid Brian De Young led the discussion.

In addition, Director of the Bonner Center for Community Service and Learning James Shields and Director of Quaker Leadership Scholars Program and Assistant Director of Friends Center Deborah Shaw encouraged high school students present to apply for scholarships available at Guilford.

Dudley senior Sierra Beasley left the session feeling more confident about navigating the college application process.

“This session was very helpful. There were a lot of terms I had read before that were clarified for me,” Beasley said. “I already knew some of this information, but I’m undecided on my major, and I am mainly concerned about how I’m going to feel when I get to campus.”

Beasley was not the only student preoccupied with the atmosphere of their future college.

Guilford first-year Yamai Pedraza and sophomore Yasmeen Alvarez answered high school students’ questions on how to better prepare for college and provided insights about their college experience.

One of the concerns raised to the two panelists by Dudley senior Brandyn Davis was, “How does it feel to be a minority at this school?”

Alvarez encouraged the attendees to find a group in their future colleges where they feel comfortable and accepted.

“Sometimes I am the only person of color in a class ,and in those cases I become a type of token and I feel like I have to speak for my whole race,” Alvarez said. “There might be moments like that in college, but it is all about finding a community that will support you.”

These sessions and keynote speaker Tiffany Holland explored black experiences in the United States and abroad, and focused on empowering and preparing attendees for the future.