Class of 2022 celebrates African roots at sixth annual Donning of the Kente ceremony

Black students in the Class of 2022 were honored in the annual cultural ceremony.

明亮的红色, yellow and green lights – the colors of Pan-Africanism – and filled with the constant rhythm of djembe drums, 笑声和掌声, 校友 Gym was the scene for the sixth annual Donning of the Kente ceremony at 伦大学 on Thursday, 5月19日.

The Donning of the Kente serves as a cultural ceremony that celebrates the achievements of Elon’s Black graduating students who recognize their African roots. The soon-to-be graduates stood in front of their classmates as they received words of encouragement, support and love from someone special in their life and received their handmade kente cloth graduation stole.

“The donning is meant to be a positive and memorable experience that rewards students and their families with a personal and culturally relevant ceremony,兰迪·威廉姆斯说, vice president and associate provost for inclusive excellence and associate professor of education. “为此, 我鼓励你们喜极而泣, stamp your feet with praises and display all expressions of celebration for our graduates this evening.”

Jaelyn亚历山大的22, 电影艺术学院音乐戏剧专业的毕业生, said it was an incredible honor to be a part of the Donning of the Kente ceremony with such powerful displays of love. “I have never seen a ceremony at Elon so vulnerable and full of so much love,” Alexander said. “There are not many opportunities we get to publicly recognize people that we care about that have impacted us. I don’t know everyone here, but every single speech was very touching and inspirational.”

Each graduate was adorned with a handwoven kente cloth from a village in Bonwire, Ghana. The kente cloth symbolizes and celebrates prestige in many African societies. The origins of the kente cloth date back to the 12th century when it was worn by kings, queens and prominent figures of state during ceremonial events and special occasions in Ghanaian society.

在文化背景下, the kente serves as a visual representation of African history, 哲学, 道德, 社会行为准则和审美原则.

“As you walk out these doors wearing your kente stool and drape it over your shoulders again during 毕业典礼, remember that your stole is a symbol of the shelter that at least one person constructed for you and it is an invitation to be embraced by an expansive community of alumni, 教师、员工, 跨越几十年的家人和朋友, 斗争, 阻力和希望,“Buffie Longmire-Avital, director of the Black Lumen Project and associate professor of psychology, 在她的结束语中说.

“We built this city on the audacious pursuit and promise of safety. 2022年毕业生, unapologetically seek out and claim your space with the assurance that this Elon shelter of safety, 在所有的风暴, 会忍受,”她说.

Akilah韦弗的00, president of the Elon Black 校友 Network (巴·) and benefits executive with Bank of America, displayed a symbol on the screen and explained its significance to the Class of 2022 kente recipients.

“这个符号叫做‘Eban’,翻译过来就是篱笆, 并反映了爱的象征, 安全与安全. 巴· is a place where you can feel safe, affirmed, validated and at home,” Weaver said. "当你作为黑人学者开始你的世界之旅时, 要知道你的耐心会受到考验, 你的智力将受到考验, your character will be attacked and your blackness may even be questioned. But stay true to self, enjoy life, task risks, be different, … be bold. 你是优秀的黑人.”

Jazmin坎贝尔的22, graduating with a degree in anthropology and creative writing, 将与Alamance achieve合作一年,作为 伊隆服务奖学金计划. 在肯特山上, gratitude was the main emotion Campbell felt — gratitude for the people who have directly impacted her and the overarching Black community and network that she is now a lifetime member of.

“有一位我的导师, Kiah Glenn (former assistant director of the CREDE at Elon) to speak about me and give me my stole was an honor. I cannot describe my gratitude and love for her,” Campbell said. “I am so grateful to these people and this place for building me. 我无法描述我对他们的感激之情.”