By David Crowfield II
On Feb. 1, the African American Center for Academic Excellence held its second annual Black Liberation Month opening ceremony. The event had several parts to it which consisted of singing the black national anthem, introducing the AACAE workers/mission, musical selection, origins of black history month, and a spoken word performance. Dr. Corliss Bennett, also gave a moving speech during the event. She touched on how there are people out in the world who do not want to see people of color succeed in life. She also, gave us her background and how she over came the streets of South Central, Los Angeles.
Dr. Bennett is the director of the cultural centers for academic excellence, who obtained her Bachelors degree from UCR (University of California, Riverside). Dr.Bennett is a first-generation college graduate from Crenshaw and Slauson, cross streets in Los Angeles. She says she’s passionate about education for people of color.
“I went to Saint Mary’s high school where my counselors did not believe I could go to college and be successful in life,” she said. “And that’s why I chose to become an educator, to show my people it’s possible to beat the odds and to help people that look like me.”
Business major Sidney Broussard, 20, is an operations and hospitality specialist at the AACAE.
“Black Liberation means understanding where a person of color comes from because if we do not know where we came from we won’t know where we are going,” Broussard said, touching on the how “blackness” is the escape from white oppression. “Blackness is not merely a reference to skin color, but rather a symbol of oppression that can be applied to all persons except whites, of course because they have never been oppressed.”
Sophomore sociology major Ketly Sylla, 19, is from South Central, Los Angeles. She aspires to work with disabled children in the near future. She hopes that her current job title, as the Intercultural Intersections Specialists will help her prepare for her future career choice. Sylla believes that it is her duty to help the P.O.C. (people of color) community to understand the world we live in, the problems our society is currently facing, and how this all relates to our past.
“It is important to educate our youth on a history that is often forgotten and left out of our current education system and how white privileged is not something of the past,” she said. “I didn’t choose this position; it chose me. Diversifying our communities and properly educating the youth will help them because how are we supposed to know where we’re going if we do not know where we came from.”