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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Photo courtesy of NY Times. Taken by: Lee Celano

Almost five years after the storm, many Hurricane Katrina evacuees are still struggling to find their footing in everyday society. Broken homes, poor health, and decelerated learning are only a handful of the problems that plague the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

A NY Times article by Shaila Dewan sheds some light on the current situation in Baton Rouge and what one non-profit organization is doing to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina. The article also seems to provide a lasting solution to providing post-Katrina aid.

Click here to read the article.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



January 18, 2010 - February 11, 2010: Racism. A History.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs presents Racism: A History. This 3 part BBC documentary tells the horrific story of modern racism, from its commercial roots (“The Colour of Money”), in the slave trade (“Fatal Impacts”), to its legitimization by "men of science" and the resultant devastation (“Savage Legacy”) it had, and continues to have, in our struggle towards realization of the oneness of humankind and true "civilization".

Showing dates:

  • Part 1: January 18th - “Savage Legacy”
  • Part 2: January 28th"Fatal Impact”
  • Part 3: February 11th - "The Colour of Money”.

Time: 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. (On each showing date)

Location: Alden Trust Auditorium, Kennedy 112.

Contact: Brenda Safford at or 508-767-7100.

February 5, 2010: The Office of Multicultural Affairs presents Mamadou Diop

This will be an irresistible energy of master West African rhythm guitarist and drummer Mamadou Diop, and it is sure to be a night of world-class cultural experience. The sound is a guitar- and drum-led groove that includes the rhythms of high-life, juju, rumba, samba, salsa, and reggae.

Time: 9:00 -11:30 p.m.

Location: Charlie’s

Contact: Brenda Safford at or 508-767-7100.

February 16, 2010: President's Lecture Series. Dr. George Yancey

Dr. George Yancy, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Duquesne University, works primarily in the areas of critical race theory, critical whiteness studies, and philosophy and the Black experience. Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race understands Black embodiment within the context of white hegemony within the context of a racist, anti-Black world. Dr.Yancy demonstrates that the Black body is a historically lived text on which whites have inscribed their projections which speak equally forcefully to whites' own self-conceptualizations.

Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Location: La Maison Auditorium

Contact: Brenda Safford at or 508-767-7100.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


The students in History 389 (Pro-Seminar on Research Methods and the History of Slavery in America) will be hosting a mini-conference on Monday, December 7, 2009 and Wednesday, December 9, 2009 in the from 2:30-4:30PM (on both days) in the Carriage House. 22 students will be presenting the research they have conducted throughout the semester. The complete program is listed below.

You are invited to attend any of the presentations you find interesting. We realize that this is a busy time of the semester for everybody, so we will understand if some guests are able to observe only certain presentations. All are welcome to attend as much as they like.

Mini-Conference on Slavery and Freedom in America
Research Projects Undertaken By Students in History 389
Pro-Seminar on Research Methods and the History of Slavery in America

Monday, December 7, 2009 Carriage House

Panel 1: Comparative Cultures in the Era of Enslavement 2:30-3:10

Jeffrey A. Alderson (History, 2010; minor in Political Science)
“The Enlistment for Freedom: African American Responses to Slavery and the Civil War”

Mary Justine Hancock (History, 2010; concentration in Education)
“The North: An Appealing and Positive Society for Women”

Jack Nagle (History and Theology, 2010)
“Scripture and Slavery: The Battle over Biblical Interpretation between the Proslavery South and the Abolitionists”

Jessica Roy (History, 2010; concentration in Education, minor in Psychology)
“African American Experiences in the North and South”

Panel 2: African Americans and Military Service 3:10-3:40

Shawn Murray (History, 2010; minors in Foundations and Political Science)
“African American Service in the American Revolution and the Paradox between Rhetoric and Reality”

Michael Dee (History, 2010; minor in Theology)
“African Americans in the Civil War: Their Roles, Participation, and Impact on the American Civil War”

Nicholas Fusco (History, 2010; concentration in Education)
“African Americans in the Civil War: Well Deserved Freedom”

Panel 3: Biography and the History of Abolition 3:40-4:10

John Mullen (History, 2010)
“Anthony Burns: Resentment and Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law”

Kayla Parker (History, 2010; concentration in Education)
“John Brown: Motivations for Abolition and the Harpers Ferry Raid”

Rich Sierra (History, 2010; concentration in Education)
“Moses and Her Path to Freedom: An Analysis of the Life and Works of Harriet Tubman”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 Carriage House

Panel 4: American Slavery and Social History 2:30-3:10

Samantha Baker (History, 2010; minor in Education)
“Treatment of Unfree Laborers”

Valerie Baker (History, 2010; minors in Education and Human Services)
“Slave Hierarchy within Slave Society and How It Affected Their Lives”

Rebecca Petty (History, 2010; minors in Anthropology, Foundations, and Spanish)
“Slave Families and Identity: Elements of Traditional African Culture within the Slave Family Structure”

Amanda Sheehy (History, 2010; concentration in Education)
“A Comprehensive Review of Women in Slavery throughout the Nineteenth Century”

Panel 5: Images, Texts, and Identity in Societies with Slaves 3:10-3:50

Maegan Cook (History 2010; concentration in Education)
“Visual Images of Slavery and How They Can Lead to Stereotypes”

Lianna DelGreco (History, 2010; minors in Art History and Education)
“Questionable Content: An Analysis of Racial Content Found in Children’s Literature during the Nineteenth Century”

Eric Keenan (History and Art History, 2011; minor in Anthropology)
“Different Shades of Black: Depictions of the African American Identity in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century America”

Tom McGinley (History, 2011)
“Young Minds in Bondage: An Examination of Confederate Educational Print Culture”

Panel 6: American Slavery in the Atlantic World 3:40-4:30

Shawn Guilderson (History, 2010; minor in Political Science)
“American Reactions to the Haitian Revolution: Why the Insurrection Was Important to Slavery and How Toussaint L’ouverture Was an Influential Figure of the Revolutionary Era”

Alyse Moccia (History, 2010; concentration in Education)
“Looking at the Overlooked: Native American Slaves and Their Impact on North America”

Alex Polanik (History, 2010; minors in Education and Graphic Design)
“Slavery and the Supreme Court: The
Amistad Case, the Trial, the Verdict, and Its Impact”

Patrick Seaman (History, 2010; minors in Philosophy and Political Science)
“Runaway Slaves: Challenges and Opportunities”

*The Carriage House is located next to the new Admissions building.

For more information contact Prof. Carl Keyes at or (508) 767-7324

Thursday, December 3, 2009


"CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" is an annual television special created by CNN to honor individuals who make extraordinary contributions to help others. The TV special started in 2007 and continues now, with the awards show airing at the end of the year.

During this past Thanksgiving weekend, CNN aired the second annual "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," which is scheduled to
air again on Christmas Day. Be sure to watch the special during the next airing to learn about the impact the 2009 heroes are making around the world.

Click here
to meet all of the 2009 CNN heroes and contribute to their individual causes.


My name is Erin Marie Muschette and I am multiracial. Looking at me, it is hard to determine my ethnicity, which has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. It is obvious that I am neither fully white, nor fully black, and I am too light-skinned to only be mulatto, as such, people stare at me confused and curious. Nevertheless, the staring does not bother me because I enjoy being different. The fact that people are unable to determine my ethnicity is a blessing because it allows me to see people's true views about diversity. This is also a curse because people who do not know my background engage in prejudiced conversations around me without even realizing it affects me.

I am proud to be Black, White, Portuguese, Cape Verdean, Arawak Indian, Jamaican and French-Canadian. Although I am not of Irish decent, I have an Irish first name. My skin complexion is light tan, and I have hazel eyes. I am neither dark-skinned-which makes it not as easy to point me out-nor am I completely pale-resembling many of the students here on campus. For these reasons, it is easy for me to blend in on a predominately white campus such as Assumption. I simply fade into the background.

The fact that I am multiracial raises another issue: many people expect me to identify with a specific race. I do not speak Cape Verdean-Creole or Portuguese so it is often difficult to identify with that part of my identity. Yet, if I have white friends or date white men, then I am labeled as acting white or trying to be white. Conversely, if I have black friends or date black men, then I am labeled as acting black or trying to be black. I did not know it was possible to act out who I am. I thought I was just being myself. How am I supposed to choose to identify with only one part of who I am?

My family is extremely diverse and we see people for who they are, not based on their skin color. That is the kind of atmosphere I am accustomed to. This is partly the reason why my transition into college here at Assumption was harder than I expected. Back at home, an hour away in Lynn, Mass., your character, your compassion for others, and your work ethic are what defines you, but here at Assumption many people judge you based on your skin color without getting to know you as a person. This prevents people from building healthy relationships because they are unable to see beyond race and color lines. Lynn is a very diverse city. I would be lying if I said Lynn does not have problems of its own, but it is a completely different environment than Assumption. People are very accepting in Lynn, and unfortunately that is not the case here at Assumption. I have come to realize that before attending college, I was living in a bubble. I expected everywhere I went to be just as diverse as both my family and the city in which I grew up. I realize that in life we will meet people with whom we do not share values and beliefs, but more importantly, we should be willing to learn from such experiences.

Growing up with such a diverse background has given me a strong sense of cultural awareness, as well as sensitivity towards topics of race and race relations. I have learned that it is offensive to be ignorant, and we can only improve cultural understanding through open, honest conversations. A lot of people are skeptical to ask questions regarding race and race relations, but it is better to ask questions and gain accurate knowledge about different cultures than to make incorrect assumptions about people of diverse backgrounds.

I have Black, White, Hispanic and multiracial friends. I do not make friends based on race, so it does not matter to me what they look like or how they talk. I personally love hearing different accents. My best friend is Laotian, and by being around her I was able to experience her culture. I have asked her numerous questions about her culture and have even learned a few words in Lao, the official Laotian language. I am comfortable in my own skin and am perfectly fine with the people I associate with or choose to date. The race of the people with whom I choose to surround myself with should not be an issue to anyone but me. I enjoy people's company because of their personality and not because of their skin color.

In today's society, and here at Assumption, many people are not accepting of cultures different from their own. It could be that some people have old-fashioned parents or ideals, but that does not justify ignorant thoughts or actions. In the ALANA Network, we work to promote diversity. Diversity should bring people together, not separate them. We must embrace different cultures in order to gain a better understanding of others. This way we will learn why people look, act, speak or dress a certain way, and such understanding will ultimately make all people feel comfortable and accepted. I am sure we can all agree that there is no better feeling than to be comfortable in our own skin and be accepted for who we are as human beings.

Erin Marie Muschette'10

Member At Large, ALANA Network
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