NIA DOAKS | Managing Editor

On Tuesday, September 1, the African American Cultural Center and AYA Ambassadors hosted their annual community-welcoming event, “Harambee!” Harambee is Swahili for “Let us come together” and is meant to be an opportunity to welcome new members and celebrate existing members of our community.

The event began with a “Call of the Drums”, done by three members of the African Student Union. Following this were the greetings and permission from the elders to start the ceremony, and the pouring of Libation by Dr. Craig Brookins, associate professor of psychology and Africana Studies and director of the College of Humanities interdisciplinary studies program. The ritual pouring of libation is meant to be a way of showing thanks- it involves water, earth, and the community.

Each time Brookins poured water into the earth, members of the community speak a word of thanks. This begins the event with an element of positivity and thankfulness. Kinesha Harris, Programming Intern for the Cultural Center and president of AYA Ambassadors, said that the pouring of Libation was her favorite part of the event. “In terms of planning, we have to figure out who is going to do the Call of the Drums, pour Libation, and speak,” said Harris.

“Harambee is an excellent opportunity for new students, new faculty and the people of the community to get together and learn more about each other and the community.”

Dr. Craig Brookins speaking at the beginning of Harambee. The event took place Tuesday, September 1st, in the Sankofa room of Witherspoon.

Dr. Craig Brookins speaking at the beginning of Harambee. The event took place Tuesday, September 1st, in the Sankofa room of Witherspoon.

Following the pouring of libation was the performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing by Matthew Wright, a sophomore majoring in graphic design. Immediately after was the public welcoming of new interim director of the AACC, Dr. Frances Graham into the community. One important part about Harambee is the opportunity for networking and meeting the campus leaders.

A portion of the program is dedicated to the introduction of the African American student leaders as well as new faculty, staff and students. Harambee is an event that is rooted in tradition in the N.C. State Community. “We always do the introduction of the student leaders in AASAC and the new members of the community- that’s something that’s always set in stone,” said Harris. “It’s important for students to become acquainted with each other and learn about other organizations and what they stand for.” This is a valuable event for new students as they become adjusted to college life.

“Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from the event- I heard about it from Mama Thorpe at the Multicultural Symposium,” remarked Kristin Weathersby, a freshman in textile engineering. “I learned a lot about how the organizations work and how respectful the community is to their elders and ancestors.” The most exciting tradition during the event is towards the closing, when students, faculty and staff join hands in a large circle around the Sankofa room.

In unison, all members of the community repeatedly yell “Harambee!”, holding out the last word to represent the commitment to unity and improving the community. “There’s always a good turnout for Harambee, because it’s one of the best programs of the year,” said Harris. “Hopefully, students take away from this event that we are a community, and as a community we should help, uplift, and acknowledge each other. We are all here, and should be resources to one another.”