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Celebrating Black History ‘Harambee’ style

2/22/2017, noon | Updated on 2/22/2017, noon
Northwestern University’s Student Aairs Marketing Organization kicked off Black History Month by celebrating the African tradition called “Harambee”.
Unidentified dancers and musicians rejoice in song and movement as they honor Black History Month at Northwestern University. Photo courtesy of Northwestern University Student Aairs Marketing Team.

Celebrating Black History ‘Harambee’ style

By Christopher Shuttlesworth

Northwestern University (NU) recently honored Black History Month with an African celebration entitled “Harambee.” The celebration was just one of many programs the Multicultural

Student Affairs Department at NU presented to the public this month.

Northwestern University’s Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Affairs Heather Browning, said the e vent not only increased awareness about African culture and black people, it also brought tog ether Northwestern students, staff, faculty and alumni who are a part of the African Diaspora.

“It’s important for students at [Northwestern University] to see themselves at these [type of ] celebrations, which included [Northwestern] black students [with] identities

that intersected with “blackness,” or black identities that [represented] the [African] Diaspora during the [Harambee gathering],” Browning said.

The African Diaspora, Harambee and Black History Month are all interrelated. The African Diaspora refers to the communities throughout the world that have resulted by descent from the movement in his toric times of peoples from

Africa, predominantly to the Americas and among other areas around the globe.

The term “Harambee” is described in Swahili as to ‘pull together,’ and is well-known as a traditional rallying cry where people throughout communities in Kenya gather for special events and to collect necessity resources, according to northwesternuniversity.edu.

Browning said the Harambee is significant to students at NU because it continues to help them to learn about the shared history of African culture and the intersections of black

communities in the United States.

“We utilize Harambee as this gathering piece to create an increase of belonging, connection and understanding of the Africa Diaspora at Northwestern University,” Browning said.

“[Harambee] offers that moment to celebrate black identities and connect with our black communities and recognize and share the strength and resources we embody because

celebration of black people is important,” she said, adding that black people learn more about themselves when they celebrate their culture.

“For the past 10 years, Northwestern University has started Black History Month with their Harambee tradition kickoff, Browning said.

“Through the Harambee itself, [Northwestern] created a visibility to broaden the understanding of black communities on Northwestern’s campus and nationwide.” She added her main desire was for everyone to leave the Harambee with more knowledge on why they truly belong to the black

culture.

“I hope that people who attended the event whether students, staff, faculty or community members left with an increased [sense] of belonging and understanding of the [African] Diaspora itself,” she said. “I think the [gathering]

of the Harambee offers that moment [to acknowledge] and celebrate our larger blackness as a community.”