Daily Egyptian

Students launch social media campaign to raise awareness, support for Africana studies

By Kitt Fresa

To try to save the Africana studies program from being cut, students are putting together a video campaign to raise awareness and support of the department.

A plan approved by the Board of Trustees in July put Africana studies, along with six other programs, on the chopping block for elimination. In October, Chancellor Carlo Montemagno said he would defer his decision on the department’s fate for a year.

The possibility it could still be eliminated is concerning to students like Kelechi Agwuncha, one of the campaign’s organizers

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“We want to have campus-wide support and visual support for Africana studies, because we’re seeing a lack in social media support for it,” Agwuncha said. “We want people to know that this isn’t just a college issue, but also a community issue.”

The video will include a montage of faces of all different colors, ages and races, Agwuncha said.

It also feature Joseph Brown, a professor in the department, Novotny Lawrence, a professor in radio, television and digital media and interviews from members of the Black Affairs Council.

“It’s a campus-wide problem because everyone needs to receive this possibility of Africana studies still being here,” Agwuncha said.

College is meant to open students’ minds to other experiences and cultures, Julius Jefferson a student at SIU and another campaign organizer, said.

“If we lose a department like Africana studies, we lose the purpose that college has in enlightening people and providing a greater knowledge that they could never get anywhere else,” Jefferson said. “To try and get rid of Africana Studies is insulting … it’s such an important department.”

The campaign’s goal is to show that the elimination of Africana studies  is “not just one person’s issue, but it’s everyone’s issue,” Agwuncha said.

“With this political climate, I think that it can honestly offer a lot of insight to people who are just oblivious to what’s happening and also oblivious to the culture,” Agwuncha said.

Though it is unclear when the video will be completed, when it is done it will be shared through local media outlets and social media, Agwuncha said.

Staff writer Kitt Fresa can be reached at [email protected]. 

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