Above Image: Students work on making quilts during the African Village Event on Feb. 22. Photo by Esmerelda De Santiago
By Brody Salazar
(Additional reporting by Esmerelda De Santiago)
Quilting, braiding and drumming were just some of the entertainment available during the African Village event in the Rancho Quad on Feb. 22. The event was assembled, for both adults and children, by the Aman/Awoman Umoja Club with the collaboration of others such as the Puente Club, the Business Elites Club and EOPS.
Brandon Chilsom, President of the Aman/Awoman Club, spoke of the event as an attempt to unify people in the name of black history month. The secretary of the Aman/Awoman club, Lunden Johnson, supported this reason for the event but expanded upon it by expressing her excitement about the event, showing off the bond between hispanics and blacks as well as their club's community, diversity and ability to collaborate with others. Ms. Johnson also spoke fondly of the quilting activity, which represented unity.
"In African culture, a quilt shows unity between generations and between family and friends," said Ms. Jonson of the symbolic nature of a quilt.
"The story that will be told is on squares and circles," said Donna Colondres, a faculty advisor for the club. "There's a story of diversity, and how, eventually, these squares and circles fit in to make a whole."
Colondres also spoke of how the circles and squares are representative of people and how they are all different but still come together to form a society. Although the African Village is over, the quilt is not done being made, and it will be moved to other Chaffey Campuses to be finished so that all Chaffey students may put a piece of themselves in it.
Other African themed activities were available aside from quilting. Examples of such would be the hair braiding and barbershop, which were available in the same booth. Ms. Colondres explained that the reason hair braiding is important is that in many cases whenever a tribe member got lost their hair would become matted over time. So the braiding would not just help their hair remain untangled but also serve as a map on their own head. The barbershop, however, has a much newer history than that of the braids. Even the more recently developed tradition of cutting hair is not new and has its roots in slavery.
"The slaves didn't have anybody to cut their hair, but, more importantly, the slave master didn't have anyone," Colondres said. "So who did he get? He got the slaves. So that's why it became a part of our history. We started mastering the art."
Finally, the event slowed to a close with story time for the children visiting campus for the festivities. After playing with the drums, the children all gathered to listen to a short book being read aloud. Although the vendor providing soul food continued making sales, the activities began to die down, and the African Village came to a close.