The Center for Africana Studies and Inclusion department discuss what it means to be African American

The Center for Africana Studies and Inclusion department discuss what it means to be African American

Devon Williams, Events and Engagement Editor

The Center for Africana Studies and Inclusion came together on Tuesday to discuss with students and staff what it means to be African American and how to be accommodating to everyone.

Maurice Nelson, the Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, explained the significance of enhancing and embracing diversity.

“The beauty of diversity however is demonstrated when we can come together and learn from each other’s learned experiences and walk away with a better understanding and also a plan to include each other and really understanding what that means with the diversity around us,” said Nelson.

Cheryl Ciurevich, the Director of Development for the College of Science and Mathematics at Georgia Southern helped guide the discussion. She commented on the significance of community, especially during uncertain times like these.

“We must explore how we can help each other through very challenging times and to try and grow our empathy and understanding,” said Ciurevich.

She also introduced the audience to the first student panelist, Adalis Ball, who is a senior at Armstrong and majoring in psychology. She plans on pursuing an advanced degree in either counseling or intensive behavior therapy.

When asked what “Black Lives Matter” means to her, Ball explained how her race has impacted people’s perception of her as a person.

“I’m referred to as an African American woman. It’s the first thing that is noticed about me and often the last thing that is noticed about me in any space whether that’s academic or social is who I am. It’s more than my skin color personally, but to others it may just be my skin color,” said Ball.

Ball explained that she wants the term “Black Lives Matter” to mean more than her skin color and she wants all people regardless of skin tone to have equal opportunities for success.

The second student panelist was Keyshawn Housy. Housy is a senior majoring in history with an Africana studies minor and is from Savannah Georgia. He plans to enroll in the master of public administration program upon graduation. Housy explained that the struggle for acceptance is everywhere for people of color.

“When I look at the struggles of black men and black women all over the world I think, no I know that we all face the same struggles whether you go to African, China, Europe, the Caribbean, South America we all go through the same struggles in the fight to be seen as humans,” said Housy.

It is true that no matter where you live, those of color are viewed in a negative light more often than a positive one. Often, people of Afro descent are portrayed and perceived as aggressive and never satisfied with life. This portrayal usually causes them to feel lesser and many individuals become mad in reality in response to these stereotypical views.

Dr. Alicia Brunson, an assistant professor in the Sociology and Anthropology department also shared her views on what Black Lives Matter means.

“For me black lives matter means simply that black lives matter. This means that those who identify as black are liberated from state sancted violence and institutionalized racism. This means that black lives are for the ability to use our agency in order to thrive and have a healthy and safe life,” said Brunson.

The speakers went on to discuss ways to include others, including focusing on one’s skills instead of their skin color. Around a dozen people attended this panel and they were strongly engaged with the subject.

For more information about the Center for Africana Studies and Inclusion, visit