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, January 29, 2009

Le Provoc: Multicultural Affairs Article #5

"It has arrived! The semester has finally come to an end, and with it a whole lot of reflections. It is always wise to allow ourselves to take a moment and reflect back on the semester up to this point in order to improve if necessary.

It is impossible to reflect back on the past three months without taking notice of our historic presidential election. And so I begin my reflection with a quotation from our president-to-be, Barack Obama. It reads:

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

This excerpt is very truthful in that it allows for our minds to wander and think of the possible changes that we are capable of making. Young people are often associated with having poor awareness of society and are often characterized as careless individuals, as my American Government professor would reiterate. Observation and criticism are always in effect from older people and we often serve as targets of misjudgment. Despite these stereotypes, we have proven to be a driving force behind the outcome of the presidential election last month.

According to a recent article, entitled, "Youth vote may have been key in Obama's win" written by's Melissa Dahl, the record turnout of the youth vote may have had a big impact on the results. Dahl affirms that "young voters preferred Obama over McCain by 68 percent to 30 percent- the highest share of the youth vote obtained by any candidate since exit polls began reporting results by age in 1976." This is a mind-changing turnout. Any citizen who witnessed the progress of the elections had to have witnessed the eagerness and fervor of those who cast their votes.

Personally, I had the opportunity to witness my fellow peers campaign for their candidate and carry out debates in dormitories and other social places around campus. The desire to seek change in our political sphere and to have our voices heard in relation to distinct social issues brought about the record breaking number of votes. Every checkmark signified a determination to seek out change.

This did not only include the presidential election, but also issues which have arisen in our communities, issues such as Question 1, regarding the Massachusetts State Income Tax Repeal, which aimed at ending the current 5.3 percent income tax on wages, interest, dividends, and capital gains. This decision would have had a major effect on young people per se, since there would have been a decrease in funding for education, an increase in class sizes, and cuts for after-school programs. Luckily we were able to overturn that decision, and it will not affect our communities as much. This serves as an illustration of the power not only of the youth vote, but also the vote of everyone in accord.

The ability to know our strength as dynamic individuals has made a historic impact on the past election. We can now rejoice and continue to be attentive to the decisions that will affect us all in the near future. This past election has also enabled us to realize the power of hope. Hope is what many young people held throughout the election and what president-elect Obama utilizes in his rhetoric.

With that said, I invite you all to come to our African-Latino-Asian and Native-American Network (ALANA) meetings every Thursdays at 5 p.m. in the Student Activities room. Come experience the power of our open forums, which aim at creating a change within ourselves and communities of how we view the world."

Marely Garcia '11
Community Outreach, ALANA Network

"When Are We Going to Get Over It?" by Dr. Andrew Manis

The author of five books, Dr. Andrew Manis is a frequent lecturer and has become one of Central Georgia's leading authorities on the history of race relations, especially in the South. His most recent book, Macon Black and White: An Unutterable Separation of the American Century, published in 2004 by Mercer University Press and the Tubman African American Museum, earned him the 2005 Georgia Author of the Year (History Division) award, and he was a semifinalist for the 2005 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.

An ordained minister, Manis received his bachelor's degree from Samford University, and his Master's of Divinity and Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been at Macon State College since 2000 and previously served as editor for religion and Southern Studies with Mercer University Press; was associate professor of religion at Averett College in Virginia; was a fellow in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania; and an assistant professor of theology at Xavier University of Louisiana.

Dr. Manis recently wrote an article which has been circulating the internet for the past month, and has most recently been featured on a blog titled "The Cotton Field Chronicle: Echoes from the Rural South..." The article touches on some important issues concerning race relations in America and it is definitely worth the read.

Read below for the article.

"For much of the last forty years, ever since America "fixed" its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, "When are African Americans finally going to get over it?

Now I want to ask: "When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that "Election Spurs Hundreds' of Race Threats, Crimes" should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in "Bombingham," Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than "talk the talk."

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes. Call for their impeachment, perhaps.

But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we're back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we've proven what conservatives are always saying -that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that schoolchildren from Maine to California are talking about wanting to "assassinate Obama."

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, "How long?" How long before we white people realize we can't make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can -once and for all- get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color? How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior? How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we starting "living out the true meaning" of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that "red and yellow, black and white" all are precious in God's sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn't believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency. I still don't believe I'll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here's my three-point plan:

First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built I'm going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I'm going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama.

Third, I'm going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can "in spirit and in truth" sing of our damnable color prejudice, "We HAVE overcome.""

For more info on Dr. Andrew Manis and "The Cotton Field Chronicle: Echoes from the Rural South..." click here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

ALANA Network E-board Dinner

At the end of the Fall semester, the ALANA Network Executive Board decided to get together for one last time before the holidays. At the request of Brenda Safford, Director of Multicultural Affairs, the e-board went out for dinner at Tribeca Restaurant, one of the newest upscale restaurants in the Worcester area.
The ALANA Network e-board, along with Brenda Safford, and Charlaine St. Charles, Graduate Assistant for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, were all in attendance at the dinner. It was a pleasure to have the entire ALANA Network e-board all together in such a serene setting for the last time in the year.

The highlight of the dinner was probably the gift-giving occasion for Secret Santa. The limit to how much could be spent on a gift was $5.00, and it was quite interesting to see what each person got as a gift. Gifts ranged from Barrack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, to Planter’s Honey Roasted Peanuts, but all the gifts received were suitably picked.

All in all, the e-board dinner was a great success and a very memorable moment. Here are some pictures from the dinner.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


more about "HOW TO SOLVE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION", posted with vodpod.Illegal immigration is one of the most divisive issues in America today. In this episode, Pinky asks Daisy for his take on what's really going on. In addition, Daisy tells us how to solve the whole problem in 5 minutes.Don’t let the title of this YouTube video fool you. This is an educational, thought-provoking video that raises a lot of valid points and arguments concerning the issue of immigration. The video is provided by the
The Pinky Show is an original super lo-tech hand-drawn educational TV show. They focus on information & ideas that have been misrepresented, suppressed, ignored, or otherwise excluded from mainstream discussion. Pinky, the show’s host, presents and analyzes the material in an informal, easy-to-understand way, with helpful illustrations that she draws herself. Episodes are available on the internet for free at


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Le Provoc: Multicultural Affairs Article #4

"Sitting in my chair in front of my desk at my job, I routinely register the information of the patients who come through my line. As the registration process continues I proceed to ask one particular patient the following questions:

"I have a few race and ethnicity questions to ask you, you may refuse if you wish not to answer."

"Okay," she says.

I begin. "What race are you?"

She looks at me and answers, "Hispanic."

I inform her that the options are Asian, Black, Native American/Eskimo, Pacific Islander/Hawaiian, White, or Other.

She hesitates and states, "Other".

I move on to the next question, "Are you of any Hispanic/Latino/Spanish descent?"

She responds, "Yes."

"What is your ethnicity?"

"I'm from Honduras."

"What is your primary language?"


Last but not least, I ask the woman, "What is your place of birth?"

"Honduras" she reiterates. The woman looks at me and asks, "Why are you asking me these questions?"

I explain to her that the hospital collects this information from all patients to help treat patients from different races and ethnic backgrounds more efficiently. I also hand her the flyer with detailed information on all the questions, saying, "Ok, thank you, have a seat in the waiting room and they will call you when they are ready."

I work at a hospital in Worcester, MA and one of my requirements, while registering a patient, is to ask them a series of questions regarding race and ethnicity. The reason I am required to ask these questions is to provide the hospital with further information regarding their patients' culture and languages. This information helps the doctors to get acquainted with the patients, thus improving the care that is given to the patients. In addition, by asking these questions, the hospital more efficiently meets the needs and individual concerns of all the patients they serve.

A major concern in the medical field is that of differences in health-concerns among racial and ethnic groups. Medical research still has many unanswered questions about what causes these disparities, and the aforementioned questionnaire that I administered to "Patient X" above helps in learning more about racial health differences.

Ultimately, hospitals can better meet the needs of the communities they serve if they know more about their patient's race, ethnicity, culture and language.

The main reason hospitals are encouraged to ask racial and ethnic questions is to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. However, because race and ethnicity vary, "a critical barrier to eliminating disparities and improving the quality of patient care is the frequent lack of even the most basic data on race, ethnicity, and primary language of patients within health care organizations," according to Debra Pierce and Mary Pittnan, authors of Who, When and How: The Current State of Race, Ethnicity and Primary Language Data Collection in Hospitals. They also write, "The data-collecting methods are disparate and, for the most part, incompatible across organizations and institutions in the health care sector."

I never really put much thought into such racial and ethnical questions until I was required to ask the questions at my place of employment. These questions are very controversial because oftentimes the answers to the questions change depending on who is asking them. As a result, I started to ask myself, 'Do race and ethnicity really make a difference in how a patient is treated? If so, why is race and ethnicity relevant when the most important thing is the treatment of the patient?'

At my job, in asking these questions to the patients that enter the hospital, I have received a multitude of different answers. Some patients have refused to answer any questions pertaining to their race and ethnicity, while other patients have just expressed that they are American and nothing else should matter. Several patients have also gotten very frustrated, and are confused as to why these questions are getting asked before they receive treatment. As a matter of fact, quite a few think that these questions are a form of racial profiling.

My interest in this topic prompted me to seek more information. I also wondered if all hospitals were mandated to ask their patients these questions. My research unearthed the fact that hospitals are not mandated to ask these questions, but are highly encouraged to do so. I now understand that the purpose of these "personal interviews" is merely based on facilitating the doctors in their practices. Still, though, like many others, I feel as if these questions are not adequately or comfortably administered, as racial discrepancies oftentimes cloud one's emotional responses.

According to Pierce and Pitman, "Among hospitals that collect data on race and ethnicity, 70 percent did not see any drawbacks to collecting the data. Drawbacks reported by the remaining 30 percent included: discomfort on the part of the registrar or admitting clerk asking the patient for the information; problems associated with the accuracy of the data collected; a sense that patients might be insulted or offended, or resist answering questions about their race and ethnicity; patients often did not "fit" the categories that were given; a fear that data may not be kept confidential; and the possibility that collecting data on race and ethnicity might be used to profile patients and discriminate in the provision of care." Here, one can see where both ends of the argument meet in a sort of tension. While questions regarding race and ethnicity seem useful to the doctors in my hospital, I can see where patients begin to feel uncomfortable regarding identity.

After my research and some personal reflection on the matter I can now understand both sides of the story, and I recognize why race and ethnicity questions are asked. However, I think that if people are going to be classified based on their race and/or ethnicity they should have the same questions and answers to the questions. I think a huge part of the disparity in the information collected comes from the fact that different hospitals have different definitions for different races. One hospital might consider Hispanic a race while another might not. I think there is still much improvement needed with the questions, and when asking the questions. Racial lines are rarely drawn so neatly, and it is certainly an ambitious undertaking when hospitals attempt to draw these rigid lines. This is why a protocol needs to be established and used by the hospitals that already have these questions to eliminate all confusion by the patients and to help everyone better appreciate the goals of these questions.

Noelia Chafoya '09
Treasurer, ALANA Network

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Wow! 2009 is here and along with it comes the Spring semester. So far, this academic year has been a great one for the ALANA Network, and as we get ready to begin the upcoming Spring semester, we aspire to achieve even more.

This semester, the ALANA Network will be hosting a number of events, most notably the All In The Mix Fashion Show (Assumption Goes Hollywood) and the 7th Annual Step & Dance Competition. These are two of the ALANA Network’s biggest events and we, along with the rest of the Assumption College and Worcester community, are looking forward to both of these events.

Before we discuss the other events the ALANA Network will be hosting this semester, it is important that we take a look back at some of the events we have hosted, so far, during this academic year. Some of these events include the Latino Festival, the Steel Drum Band, and the Sister to Sister Summit, sponsored by the Women’s Initiative United Way of Massachusetts.

Let’s take a look.

Here are some pictures from the Caribbean Trio Steel Drum Band.

Here are some pictures from the Latino Festival.

Here are some pictures from the Sister to Sister Summit.

Aside from the Fashion Show and the Step Competition the ALANA Network will be hosting a number of events this semester. One of such events is the screening of Academy Award Nominee documentary film “A Time for Burning.” The documentary explores the attempts, in the mid-1960s, of the minister of Augustana Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, to persuade his all-white congregation to reach out to the African American Lutherans in the city's north side. The movie screening will be held on the 18th of February, 2009.

Following the screening of the documentary film, the ALANA Network will be hosting one of the stars of the documentary, Senator Ernie Chambers. Ernie Chambers emerged as a prominent leader in the North Omaha community as illustrated in his instrumental role during the 1966 riots, when he successfully negotiated concessions from the city's leaders on behalf of the African American youths of North Omaha. Mr. Chambers is considered one of the Legislature's most passionate, controversial and colorful members. The ALANA Network will be hosting Senator Ernie Chambers on the 19th of February, 2009.

The ALANA Network will also be hosting a “Racial Healing” Dialogue with Reginald Newkirk. Reginald Newkirk recognizes that racism is, above all else, a social and spiritual disease, a disease woven into the moral and spiritual fiber of society. This event will be held on the 5th of February, 2009.

These are only a few of the events the ALANA Network will be hosting in the upcoming Spring semester. Kindly be on the look out for more information concerning some other of the ALANA Network’s events.

As a reminder, the ALANA Network meets every Thursday at 5:00PM in the Student Activities Resource Room, below Hagan Campus Center. All are welcome and we would love to have you. The ALANA Network will be having its first meeting for the Spring semester on Thursday, January 22, 2009. See you there!
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