African American Culture Club brings new traditions for the new year

Club+officers+from+left+to+right%3A+Isaiah+Dillard%2C+Ammria+Carter%2C+Cayla+Roberts%2C+Torah+HUdson%2C+Jayla+McCoy+and+Kadijah+Weaver-Berid.
Club officers from left to right: Isaiah Dillard, Ammria Carter, Cayla Roberts, Torah HUdson, Jayla McCoy and Kadijah Weaver-Berid.

Club officers from left to right: Isaiah Dillard, Ammria Carter, Cayla Roberts, Torah HUdson, Jayla McCoy and Kadijah Weaver-Berid.

Christina Cartwright

Christina Cartwright

Club officers from left to right: Isaiah Dillard, Ammria Carter, Cayla Roberts, Torah HUdson, Jayla McCoy and Kadijah Weaver-Berid.

Christina Cartwright, Management Editor

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Solon High School promotes diversity and culture in a variety of ways. Through clubs like Asian Culture, Spanish Culture and Italian Culture Clubs, and organizations such as our Diversity Acceptance Program, we make sure all SHS students have a place to embrace their heritage. The newest addition is African American Culture Club, founded last year by then -senior Jasmine McCoy. This year, the club is going to try a selection of new activities for their meetings inside and outside of school to get their members more educated and more involved.

 

Junior and President Torah Hudson wants to try out several new activities in the classroom. At the start of the first meeting, Hudson introduced the club to a personal tradition called libation ceremonies.

Christina Cartwright
A wall in Jeter’s room dedicated to African American icons in American history.

“Libations are a tradition that have been carried on from as early as the Atlantic slave trade,” Hudson said. “I took water, which is a very important liquid to us that represents life, and I poured it into a plant, which represents the earth.”

 

Hudson goes beyond the symbolic meaning of the tradition and can further explain why the tradition means so much to her.

 

“It’s special to me because I am of African heritage,” She said. “[When I pour the water], this means that I’m honoring my ancestors, I’m honoring the ones who came before me. I’m also honoring the ones who will come after me as well. It’s the circle of life.”

 

Learning traditions is a significant part of having a culture. Hudson also admitted some students may not have known what she did, which is one of the reasons why she introduced the libation ceremony. Aaron Jeter, who is the club’s advisor and also a social studies teacher, stressed the the importance of having cultural clubs here at SHS that will teach students about many different traditions and heritage.

 

“I think it’s important for students to be proud of their cultures,” Jeter said. “With some kids, they only know they’re Italian because of their last name, but many won’t know their own history. If we make an effort to talk about the history behind their cultures, then maybe [more of their traditions] and their history could be passed down.”

 

The club also wants to move activities outside of the classroom. Junior and Vice President Jayla McCoy shared activities she wants the club to try.

 

“One thing we didn’t do last year was have fundraisers,” McCoy said. “[We want to have] bake sales or collect clothing for the homeless or for Goodwill. After having fundraisers, we also want to throw a party, which was something we never got to do last year.”

 

Besides having activities like fundraisers or parties, McCoy also said that she wants the club to visit places that will teach kids more about their history.

 

“We also want to try a lot of new places,” McCoy said. “Last year we went to a museum in Detroit, and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood. This year, we want to come up with a lot of new places to go to.”

Christina Cartwright
Club Officer Isaiah Dillard writing on one of the posters.

Educating students on their own culture isn’t the only goal of  African American Culture Club. McCoy and Hudson both agreed they want each of their club meetings to have a variety of students in it, not just those who are African American. Both officers stressed that one of the biggest things the club promotes is acceptance, and it would thrill them to see many different races, religions and backgrounds at their meetings.

 

For Hudson, one of her most important goals overall is to educate the students on their heritage. She wants them to learn new traditions and learn about where they’ve come from.

 

“We want to do so many activities like drum classes and dancing classes to get kids sankofa,” She said. “This is a term we use which means going back to your roots. We want a stronger black community, and we want kids to express themselves. We also want our members to learn our history because our history is so long and important, and so much more than you can fit into just 28 days.”

 

You can find out more about African American Culture Club by visiting Aaron Jeter in room 230.Ch

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