Office Of Multicultural Affairs

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) was established in 2002 to support the College’s efforts to attract, recruit, and serve both students of color and international students. Our mission is to create and sustain an environment that encourages and embraces the contributions of people from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Le Provoc: Multicultural Affairs Article #3

"Imagine walking into a dimly lit Hagan Campus Center on a Thursday night after a long day full of school work and you notice 27 flags around a dance floor area representing Hispanic countries from across the globe. You then hear a live band playing machata and salsa music; you can't help but move your feet, grab a plate and relax. Earlier this month on October 9th, the ALANA Network, along with those who were in attendance, celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with our 2nd Annual Latino Festival. Before I start talking about the celebration, here is a little background information about the inspiration behind this event.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time period in which Hispanic Americans are recognized for their contributions to the United States. This is also a time to celebrate the Hispanic heritage and culture. Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 26 and ends on October 25. September 25 is a very historic day for Latin America, especially for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. This date was chosen because it marks the anniversary of these countries acquiring their independence.

Hagan Campus Center Hall was a beautiful setting for a night full of great music, delicious food, and awe-inspiring performances. The night opened up with a prayer by Mary Anne Cappelleri from Campus Ministry. Then professor Arlene Guerrero-Watanabe, from the Modern and Classical Languages Department, recited three popular Hispanic poetry readings in both Spanish and English, which captured the essence of its rich culture. As the music started up again, people began to grab food to sit down at fully decorated tables to socialize and enjoy the warm sounds of the live band.

For the first performance of the night, there was a local Latin dance school, Ritmos Academy, who performed three traditional Hispanic dance styles and forms. They performed the mambo which is a Cuban dance form, a tango which is a traditional dance from Argentina, and the flamenco, which originated in Spain. The second performance was Assumption's own Latin Dance Team who chose to wow the crowd with a beautiful meringue number. The night concluded with an open dance floor and a chance for everyone to look at the Hispanic artifacts brought for display by various Assumption students.

Participating in and attending this event was a blast. There was a good turn out of faculty as well as students, and once again there was really good food, music and dance. It truly was a great escape from a regular day of schooling. In the process I learned a lot about different customs and practices from different cultures, which in the end made me appreciate the opportunity I have here in America more. So if you are reading this article, I highly recommend you to attend next year's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. This is your personal invitation to the ALANA Network's 3rd Annual Latino Festival."

Lammar Cash '10
Secretary, ALANA Network

Monday, November 3, 2008

ALANA Consortium BBQ

The ALANA Consortium Support Network, established in August of 1999, is an organization of professional administrators affiliated with colleges and universities within central Massachusetts.
Central to their work is a concerted effort to support the recruitment and retention of ALANA (African - Latino / Hispanic - Asian - Native American) students. The Network is a thriving organization with active representatives from Anna Maria College, Assumption College, Clark University, College of the Holy Cross, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Worcester State College.

The annual ALANA Consortium BBQ is an opportunity for students to meet and dialogue. This year’s BBQ was held at Clark University and it was a great success as there were over 100 students in attendance from the various consortium colleges. Students listened to music as there was a live DJ at the BBQ, and they also had a chance to win different prizes through the raffle.

All in all, this year’s ALANA Consortium BBQ was a great success.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Le Provoc: Multicultural Affairs Article #2

" At Assumption, the word diversity has been downplayed to only refer to racial diversity. As a result, we tend to forget that there are other forms of diversity, such as gender diversity, sexual diversity, and, in this case, religious diversity. Assumption College is a Catholic institution where religion and faith are taken seriously as an integral part of the human experience, and, at Assumption several Catholic traditions are upheld. As a non-Catholic Christian at Assumption, I sometimes find myself feeling out-of-place, and although Assumption is welcoming to people of all religious faiths, I can't help but find myself shying away from activities held in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, such as candlelight prayer, and daily mass. Although my feelings are not representative of the entire non-Catholic population at Assumption, I know, through several conversations, that there are other students who share my sentiments. At a point, I asked myself, "If I, a Christian at Assumption, sometimes felt out-of-place, how must other students of different faiths, specifically Muslims, feel about going to Assumption, a Catholic institution?" This question resulted in a series of discussions, which eventually led to my interest in writing this article.

You are probably asking, "Why is he concerned specifically with how Muslims feel about attending Assumption?" In order for you to understand why such a question even came to mind, it is important that I give you a brief personal history of my life. I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, in West Africa. In Nigeria, the two major religions are Christianity and Islam. We also have a variety of other religions which tend to vary regionally. As a result, I have been highly exposed to Islam since my childhood. I grew up having quite a number of Muslim friends who, even after middle school and high school, I am still in close contact with. As a result, during the times I felt out-of-place, I always wondered what their experiences were, or would have been, if they were enrolled in other Catholic institutions. In asking this question, I decided to find out what the Muslim population at Assumption was, as I am yet to meet any Muslim students at Assumption. My research opened my eyes to a lot of things.

In my research, I was unable to find data on the student body as a whole, but I was able to get data on the freshman and senior class from the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). In the 2008 CIRP Freshman survey, concerning students' current religious preference, of the 591 students who responded, 67.8 percent were Roman Catholic, and 0.0 percent were Islamic/Muslim. The data from NSSE concerning students' current religious preference in 2007 shows that, of the 125 seniors surveyed, 74 were Roman Catholic and none were Islamic/Muslim. This finding amazed me for reasons different from what you might expect. I was in no way expecting to find a high percentage of Islamic/Muslim enrollments, so these findings did not come as a shock to me, they merely proved my earlier assumptions. I was more amazed at how I had been oblivious to all the other religious faiths besides Catholicism and Islam. In my quest to raise awareness about one religious faith, I had subconsciously excluded a host of other religious faiths. I had ignored that fact that there were other religious faiths besides Catholicism and Islam, such as Hinduism, Judaism, Quakers, Later Day Saints and countless others.

At this point, you are probably wondering where I am going with all of this. My whole point is that as we go through our daily activities, we must remain cognizant of the fact that all people do not share similar religious beliefs, and in our expression of our own religious faiths, we should be respectful of all other religious faiths. We must ensure that Assumption continues to truly remain a welcoming environment for people of all faiths."
Usen Esiet '10
Vice President, ALANA Network

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Spain National Day 2008

Spanish National Day is a major public holiday celebrated every year on October 12, to commemorate Spain’s reunification and the successful voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Americas in 1492. The parade goes through the capital city of Madrid and is attended by the Spanish royals and government officials. Other festivities and processions occur all over the country.

In celebration of this year’s Spanish National Day, soldiers took part in the parade in Madrid, Spain on the 12th of October, 2008. At the ceremony, some 4,000 officers and soldiers, 250 military vehicles and 70 warplanes were in attendance. Spain’s Royal Family also joined the rest of the country in celebration at the National Day Parade last Sunday.

Here are some pictures from this splendid event:

In the picture above from left to right, Princess Letizia of Spain, Crown Prince Felipe, Princess Elena, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. Also in the back ground are Princess Cristina and Inaki Urdangarin.

Here are some other pictures:

Pictures courtesy of and

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dedication Honors the Works Martin Luther King Jr.

"A boulevard fit for a King"

By Sandy Meindersma CORRESPONDENT

WORCESTER— City Hall’s foyer echoed with the sounds of a gospel choir at the beginning of yesterday’s commitment march and dedication ceremony for the newly named Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Central Street was renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard effective July 1, 2008, after a June 2007 vote by the City Council to change the street’s name.

In celebration of the newly named street, a crowd of nearly 300, including members of five black churches, gathered at City Hall before marching down Main Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for the dedication ceremony at the DCU Center.

Stacy DeBoise Luster, human resource manager for the Worcester public schools, welcomed the crowd to City Hall, declaring that the Knights of Zion “had awakened the gospel in all of our souls.”

“This is where all the black leadership is,” Mrs. Luster said. “It’s in our churches, our pastors, our leaders and our choirs. It’s all of you.”

Following a welcome address from Mayor Konstantina B. Lukes, the crowd, led by the Worcester Combined Church Choir, marched the six blocks down Main Street to the renamed boulevard and gathered at the DCU Center for the dedication ceremony.

At the DCU Center, state Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester, called the day “one to honor the memory of a man who is an icon in American history.

I’m delighted to see this black community so united,” Mrs. Chandler said. “But this is not just a one-day event. To honor Dr. King’s legacy, you must stay united.”

The keynote speaker, state Rep. Byron Rushing, D-Boston, called on the audience to honor Dr. King with their own lives.

“We are gathered here to commemorate Martin Luther King,” Mr. Rushing said. “But not just one man, but a whole race, a whole movement. We honor all who by faith have been true to what they know is right.”

“To be faithful to the name of this street,” Mr. Rushing said, “we must ask the question: Can we commemorate ourselves in this legacy — where do we fit?

“If Martin Luther King were alive today, he would be working for decent jobs at decent salaries, for unions and for the poor and working people. He would still say that nonviolence is an effective strategy.

“As we reflect on his life, these words and why we named this boulevard, work for justice, freedom and peace and to end oppression,” he said.

Courtesy of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Le Provoc: Multicultural Affairs Article #1

"I would like to begin by welcoming the Class of 2012. You made the right choice by coming here, and your time at Assumption College is an opportunity for each of you to develop into the person you truly want to be. I advise you to find those opportunities that appeal to you and get involved. I missed out on a lot during my freshman year because I did not seize the chances I had, and I do not want any of you to make that mistake.

I would also like to welcome the rest of the Assumption College community, and thank you for all your support at our various events last year. Your support makes what we do worthwhile, and encourages us to keep coming up with new ideas and events to get our message across.

Under the guidance of Brenda Safford, the Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Charlaine St. Charles, our Graduate Assistant, the African, Latino, Asian, and Native American (ALANA) Network is committed to creating a campus atmosphere where all cultures are embraced and celebrated, and where there are opportunities for students to share their heritage and learn about the heritage of others. We all have a culture to share.

I would like to encourage you to get involved in our mission by attending our events and sharing your thoughts in our meetings. We have already kicked off our event schedule with the performance by the Jamaican Steel Drum Band, Ewabo, which we co-hosted with the Campus Activities Board. Coming up are the Latino Festival on October 9, and the Nintendo Wii Raffle which you will be learning more about in the coming weeks.

New this year is "All in the Mix: The Official ALANA Network Blog" maintained by our Vice President, Usen Esiet. The blog will be kept up to date with reports on our events and the various cultural holidays that we will be celebrating. The blog can be found at We also have new Executive Board members who have made the leap from the general membership. Mona Al-Abad will be serving as our Public Relations executive, and Marely Garcia will be serving as our Community Outreach executive. Returning from last year on the Executive Board our Secretary, Lammar Cash, Noelia Chafoya as our Treasurer, and Brian Collier as our Member-At-Large.

Beginning on September 18, our general meetings will be held every Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Student Activities Resource Room in the basement of Hagan. I encourage you to attend our meetings. We love to hear your ideas and get your feedback, and our meetings are a good way to find ways to get involved in planning our events.

I hope to see you all at our events this year, and feel free to stop by at the Office of Multicultural Affairs in Charlie's to say hello.Have a great year!

Have a great year!"

Ukeme Esiet '09
President, ALANA Network.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Jamaica Governor General’s Independence Day Message

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 marked Jamaica’s 46th year of independence. To commemorate this significant day, His Excellency, the Most Honorable, Professor, Sir Kenneth Octavious Hall, ON, GCMG, OJ Governor-General of Jamaica, shared the following message:

“This year, Jamaicans at home and abroad, recognizing our emergence as a nation-state in 1962, will celebrate the 46th year of our Independence with several church services and numerous festive events.

We are a proud people who place great value on our political independence. In these 46 years, successive governments have made significant strides in the creation of a democratic society in which we value highly the worth of each citizen, while maintaining honorable relations with other nations in this region and around the world.

However, even as we celebrate these achievements and set an agenda for economic progress, let us not forget the new challenges that we face today, particularly in the areas of crime and violence.

We must also accept that the world has undergone dramatic changes and in response to the challenges of the new millennium, we must adopt new methodologies and new approaches to address the issues we face today. Lawlessness, which continues to erode the social order and undermine the economic strides we are making, must be urgently addressed and eliminated.

Let us, however, not forget the positives in our society that give us hope. Despite our small size, we have achieved high international standards in many areas. Our products are gaining world recognition as national brands. The positive aspects of our music receive world-wide acclaim. Our athletes, who are off to Beijing, China for the Summer Olympics, are among the best in the world. I am sure their performance at those games will make all Jamaicans proud.

The time has come for parents and teachers to focus on this generation of young people, who must be helped to discover who they are and to understand the vital stake that they have in providing the future leadership of this society. We must therefore, give them a greater understanding of the significance of Independence and inspire them with a vision of the great possibilities that lie ahead.

I extend to you all, God's richest blessings, as we celebrate Jamaica on this Independence Day 2008.”

Fore more information about the history, emancipation, and independence of the island nation of Jamaica click here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Colombian Independence Day Marked By Recent Hostage Rescue

MIAMI -- The recent rescue of several hostages from rebels in Colombia made Sunday's celebration of Colombian Independence Day more poignant.

Colombian Independence Day celebrations in cities around the world Sunday were marked by thanksgiving for the July 2 rescue of 16 hostages from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Among the freed hostages was former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who was kidnapped in 2002. She celebrated Colombian independence on Sunday in Paris with singer Juanes.
In South Florida, revelers gathered at Tamiami Park to experience Colombian culture.

"It's a celebration of freedom. It's a celebration of culture. It's a celebration of being able to live in freedom and prosperity," said Rep. Mario Diaz Balart, R-Miami.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, was in Miami on Sunday to support presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain. Lieberman and McCain were in Colombia on the day the rescue took place.

"I think that operation says for the future of Colombia that the rule of law is on the way back, that democracy's on the way back, that economic opportunity is on the way back," Lieberman said.

"It's obviously always a great celebration but this year, it's a little more special," Diaz Balart said.

Lieberman and McCain planned to hold a town hall meeting at the Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside at 1 p.m. Monday.

The ALANA Network Blog is A Year Old!

Around this time last year the official ALANA Network & Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) blog, All In The Mix, was born. Although All In The Mix is still in its infant stages a lot has changed since the blog first started last July.

The idea to create a blog for the ALANA Network was inspired by the countless blogs dedicated to several topics, ranging from music to politics. These blogs, which are free to set up, attract a large number of readers on a daily basis. Readers range from site visitors to dedicated bloggers who occasionally post comments on quite a number of blog posts. Some of these blogs actually boast up to half a million hits (site visits) over the course of the blog’s existence. Although All In The Mix is yet to boast such large numbers of hits, frequent visitors are definitely expected to increase in the near future.

At its initial start All In The Mix did not have a lot of the features it currently boasts. For at least three months all that was featured on the site was a picture of the Director of Multicultural Affairs, Brenda Safford, and an invitation to attend our general meetings every Thursday in the Student Activities Resource Room below Hagan Campus Center.

Since that time last year a lot has changed. Recently, the blog layout has changed and some new features have also been added. The blog now has a message board where site visitors can and are encouraged to leave messages. The site also has links to the Reach Out Center as well as the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ home page on the college’s website. In addition, a new feature, added to the blog only last week, is a slideshow of photos from the ALANA network’s past events. At the moment, the slideshow is displaying photos from the “All in the Mix Fashion Show.”

This academic year will be the first year where All In The Mix will be fully functional with regular blog posts and updates, so be sure to bookmark the site and check back regularly for updates.

Happy Birthday All In The Mix!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Belated Bastille Day!

Yesterday, 14th of July, 2008 was France Independence Day, better known as Bastille Day. In celebration of the national holiday here is an article detailing how an international flavor was added to the French celebration of Bastille day:

"14 July is always hugely popular in France. In Paris, the traditional military parade on the Champs-Elysées is meticulously prepared, and all over France there is dancing as well as firework displays.

This year, the parade has a special international flavor since France holds the six-month EU Presidency and, the previous day, will have hosted the first-ever meeting of the Union for the Mediterranean. EU and Mediterranean country Heads of State and Government have been invited to watch the parade with President Sarkozy.

The parade will start with a 10-minute choreographed display in front of the presidential stand with French flag bearers carrying the flags of the UN, EU and the 44 members of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Detachments of UN peacekeeping forces in the Mediterranean [UNIFIL (Lebanon), UNDOF (Syria/Israel) and UNFICP (Cyprus)] will be marching together.

EU Air forces will participate in a flypast


The storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 has been commemorated in France for more than a century.

Storming of the Bastille
During the early months of the French Revolution, feelings ran high on the streets of Paris. In spring 1789, the Estates General (consultative assembly of the three estates: clergy, nobility and commoners) refused to dissolve, transforming itself instead into a constituent National Assembly. In July, King Louis XVI sent more troops to Paris and dismissed his popular minister, Necker. On the morning of 14 July, the people of Paris seized weapons from the armory at Les Invalides and marched on the ancient royal fortress of the Bastille. After a bloody gun battle, they seized the fortress and released the handful of prisoners held there.

The storming of the Bastille was the first victory of the people of Paris against a symbol of the Ancien Régime (old regime). The Bastille itself was destroyed in the ensuing months.

The "Fête de la Fédération" (Feast of the Federation) on 14 July 1790, celebrated with great pomp the first anniversary of the insurrection. In Paris, Talleyrand said Mass at the "autel de la patrie" (altar of the motherland), on the Champ de Mars.

National Holiday
For some years after the first anniversary, the commemoration of 14 July was abandoned until the Third Republic’s leaders, especially Gambetta, sought ways to mark the founding of France as a Republic. Proposed by Benjamin Raspail, a Deputy for the Department of the Seine, an Act of Parliament was passed on 6 July 1880 making 14 July the Republic’s Fête Nationale.

From the outset, the emphasis was on the patriotic and military character of the event in order to highlight France’s recovery from the defeat of 1870. Each year every commune in France held its own celebration, beginning with a torchlight parade on the evening of 13 July, with, the next day, church bells or gun salutes announcing the military parades. The day ended with dancing and spectacular firework displays.

After the austerity of the 1914-1918 war, 14 July 1919 was a great victory celebration. Similarly, 14 July 1945 was preceded by three days of civic festivities.

Successive Presidents of the Fifth Republic have made slight changes to the day’s events. In order to reconnect with Paris’s revolutionary tradition, President Giscard d’Estaing re-routed the military parade, starting it at the Place de la Bastille and ending it at the Place de la République.

14 July 1989 was a high point in the celebration of the bicentenary of the French Revolution. In particular, many foreign heads of state attended La Marseillaise, a special parade organized by Jean-Paul Goude.

In 1994, the Champs-Elysées parade in Paris included German soldiers serving in the Eurocorps, symbolizing the reconciliation between Germany and France.

And to mark the centenary of the Entente Cordiale in 2004 British armed forces took part in the parade."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

In celebration of Canada Day here is a little background of this national holiday:

On June 20, 1868, a proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.

The July 1 holiday was established by statute in 1879, under the name Dominion Day.

There is no record of organized ceremonies after this first anniversary, except for the 50th anniversary of Confederation in 1917, at which time the new Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings, under construction, was dedicated as a memorial to the Fathers of Confederation and to the valor of Canadians fighting in the First World War in Europe.

The next celebration was held in 1927 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation. It was highlighted by the laying of the cornerstone by the Governor General of the Confederation Building on Wellington Street and the inauguration of the Carillon in the Peace Tower.

Since 1958, the government has arranged for an annual observance of Canada's national day with the Secretary of State of Canada in charge of the coordination. The format provided for a Trooping the Colours ceremony on the lawn of Parliament Hill in the afternoon, a sunset ceremony in the evening followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display.

Another highlight was Canada's Centennial in 1967 when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II attended the celebrations with Parliament Hill again being the backdrop for a large scale official ceremony.

The format changed in 1968 with the addition of multicultural and professional concerts held on Parliament Hill including a nationally televised show. Up until 1975, the focus of the celebrations, under the name "Festival Canada", was held in the National Capital Region during the whole month of July and involved numerous cultural, artistic and sport activities, as well as municipalities and voluntary organizations. The celebration was cancelled in 1976 but was reactivated in 1977.

A new formula was developed in 1980 whereby the National Committee (the federal government organization charged with planning Canada's Birthday celebrations) stressed and sponsored the development of local celebrations all across Canada. "Seed money" was distributed to promote popular and amateur activities organized by volunteer groups in hundreds of local communities. The same approach was also followed for the 1981 celebrations with the addition of fireworks displays in 15 major cities across the nation.

On October 27, 1982, July 1st which was known as "Dominion Day" became "Canada Day".
Since 1985, Canada Day Committees are established in each province and territory to plan, organize and coordinate the Canada Day celebrations locally. Grants are provided by the Department to those committees.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Welcome Class of 2012!

Welcome Class of 2012! The college has just completed its successful summer orientation for your class and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, along with its student organization the African Latino Asian Native American (ALANA) Network, is eager to see you in the fall.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) is responsible for providing campus-wide programming, ALANA student leadership development, faculty / staff partnership, resources and informing the community about cross-cultural communication and collaboration. The staff advises the ALANA Network, which works closely with other departments, clubs, and organizations, to promote multicultural awareness and educational opportunities for community members.

The ALANA Network achieves its goal of promoting cultural awareness by hosting several events which range from panel discussions to movie screenings. This past year the network invited Tim Wise, one of the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the US, for a lecture. The network also hosted the movie screening of the Confederate of the States in America. Through the eyes of a British "documentary", this film takes a satirically, humorous and sometimes frightening look at the history of an America where the South won the Civil War.

In addition, the ALANA Network hosts a number of annual events which include the Latino Festival, All In The Mix Fashion Show, and Rhythmic Revolution Step Competition. These three events which have become very popular among the Assumption College community, as well as the local Worcester community, boast huge participation from students.

Now that you know a little bit more about the Office of Multicultural Affairs and its student organization, the ALANA Network, we look forward to seeing you all in the fall. We have our general meetings every Thursday at 5:00pm in the Student Activities Resource Room below Charlie’s, so please feel free to stop by because we will love to see you.

Thank you and have a great summer!
Creative Commons License ALANA Network Official Blog by Usen Esiet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at