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, November 2, 2010

Multicultural Day

Black voters’ enthusiasm may be waning -Boston Herald

By Jessica Fargen

Black and minority voters cheered rapturously yesterday at Barack Obama’s appearance in Boston, but many are worried about whether the excitement that came with the president’s historic election still exists — and what that means for Democratic turnout.

“There’s more enthusiasm when you have the opportunity to elect a trailblazer, the first black governor, the first black president. The second time around it’s always going to be more difficult,” said James Jennings, professor of urban policy and planning at Tufts University. “The issue this time is how many black voters actually show up.”

Obama spoke to a huge crowd at the Hynes Convention Center yesterday at a rally for Gov. Deval Patrick, who in 2006 was the country’s second elected black governor.

The Massachusetts governor’s race is one of 14 competitive governor’s races in the country where the black vote will play a significant role, according to a report released Thursday by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, an African-American think tank in Washington, D.C.

David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, which released a poll last week showing Patrick has a 7 point lead over Republican Charlie Baker,expects minority voter turnout to be lower here and across the country.

“The general consensus is that African-American participation will be lower in intensity, which is why you are seeing Barack Obama and a concerted effort to motivate minority voter participation in November,’’ he said. During the last mid-term elections in 2006, when Patrick was elected, national black voter turnout was 47 percent, up from 44 percent in the previous midterms in 2002, according to the Joint Center. Black voter turnout was 64 percent in 2008, when Obama was elected. Voter turnouts are typically higher for presidential elections than the mid-terms.

“There’s kind of a question mark as to what will the degree of mobilization will be’’ in the black community this year, agreed Avi Green, executive director of MassVOTE. “To what degree will there be sermons coming down at churches about the importance of voting and community leaders really getting out there?’’

Mobilization will depend on Patrick’s field organization in minority areas, which Green believes is as strong as in 2006. Minority voters typically vote Democratic if they go to polls, he said. “Every Democratic campaign has to make the sale, or folks will stay home,’’ he said.

Despite Obama’s sinking approval ratings, there’s little doubt that his appearance will be a boost for Patrick among minority voters, said David A. Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center. “The president is enormously popular with African Americans. To the degree that he needs help, Obama’s appearance will be very much a plus.”

And many voters are keenly aware of what the election means to them, said Darnell Williams, executive director of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. “The issues that were pertinent in 2006 are completely different than issues that are on people’s radar screens now,’’ he said. “When I think about where the economy, jobs, certainty of the future, enthusiasm is not the right word. People have a heightened awareness of what the governor’s race means to them.” Clayton Turnbull, 53, an African American businessman from Boston who hosted a fund raiser for Patrick this year, agreed id the energy is there. “So many people registered to vote, so many people came out for what they wanted. They are going to keep voting, you just don’t turn that around very quickly,’’ he said. d. “I’m optimistic and confident about the population of color and their enthusiasm and their increased enthusiasm.’’

This year, voters will have to be drawn to the polls by more than the promise of making history.

“I don’t think it’s the same as, ‘We are going to have the first black governor. We are going to have the first black president.’ No — that enthusiasm is not there,’’ said Charles Clemons, who co-owns Roxbury radio station TOUCH 106.1 FM. “What’s there now is that, ‘OK, we have elected these men to office and now it’s time for us to support these men because they can’t do it by themselves.’ ”

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

¡Latino Festival!

The Latino Festival has been brought to Assumption College to encompass the Latino heritage. To give our students and faculty a vibe of Latino culture, which will hopefully enrich their perspectives and broaden the horizon of cultural competence. There will be a variety of Latino foods and cultural artifacts that anyone will be able to view and try. A Latino band will be performing live throughout the evening to indulge us in their spirit of music. Students who attend will also be entered in a raffle with over $100 worth of gift cards, as well as a few other prizes. We WELCOME all to attend and enjoy the evening with the ALANA Network, October 14th, 2010 Hagan Campus Center's Ball Room.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

International Connection

The goal of the International Connection is to promote and enhance international awareness, cooperation, cultural diversity, and dialogue among international students and the rest of the Assumption College and local communities.

The group meets every week in the Hagan Campus Center - Downstairs in the Student Activities Room.

Passport to the World of Women

The Passport to the World of Women is a program developed by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Women's Studies Program. It is structured to expose students to different issues that women face around the world. Each student will be instructed to pick up their passport from the Multicultural Affairs or the Women's Studies department. There will be events in the fall and spring. A student is required to attend the events. At the end of the program a dinner will be given to celebrate and recognize women of distinction.
Please contact: Brenda Safford at or

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Welcome Freshmen (Ladies)
The women of WINGS would like to welcome you and invite you to an ice cream social on Monday, September 13, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. in the LLC basement. We encourgage you to join us and have fun! Come and enjoy some ice cream and network with other women of color at Assumption.
W.I.N.G.S. (Women in need of Guidance and Support)helps young women of color navigate successfully, academically, and socially in the college environment by providing guidance and support through open lines of communication amongst group participants and facilitators. The hope is that skills and topics of focus will assist in the overall development of each individual woman, as well as, provide long-lasting knowledge that will support the transition to life beyond the undergraduate career.

For more informaiton please contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at: or 508-767-7100.


You are invited to the:
4th Annual ALANA Welcome Back Cookout
When: Sunday, September 12, 2010 Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Clark University

The ALANA Consortium is scheduled to have its 4rd Annual Back to School Cookout on Sunday, September 12, 2010 hosted by Clark University. The cookout offers the opportunity for all of the ALANA students in the consortium to network. Transportation will be provided. Please contact Office of Multicultural Affairs for more information at: brsafford@assumption or 508-767-7100.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Confronting racism is not exactly the easiest thing to do, especially when you come face-to-face with someone who has no regard for your cultural or ethnic values. Nevertheless, in such situations it is important to remain calm, think logically, and find common ground.

In a recent article in Yes! Magazine, Pramila Jayapal, founder and Executive Director of OneAmerica, a national immigration-advocacy group, talks about her experience going face-to-face with right-wing talk-show hosts. Although her suggestions for confronting racism should not be regarded as a panacea, she makes some valid points.

Click here to read the article.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


In the most recent issue of the Assumption College student newspaper, Le Provocateur, Assistant Professor of Special Education, Dr. Nanho Vander Hart, Ph.D., examines the American and Korean cultures.

Click here to read this insightful article and join Prof. Vander Hart in celebrating these two cultures.


Spring 2010
Le Provocateur, Issue #1
"Risks of Reckless Stereotyping"

Since the end of the fall semester, I had been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to write this article because I knew it would be my final article to appear in the Multicultural Affairs section of Le Provocateur. At the start of the holidays, I made the decision to use this article as an opportunity to reflect on my undergraduate experience here at Assumption; an experience that has been nothing short of fulfilling. I intended to touch on key parts of my experience here at Assumption where I had made progress in both my personal and leadership development, with the hopes of ending the article with a personal message to some of the students, asking them to take advantage of the opportunities available to them here at Assumption. On Friday, December 25, 2009 that idea for this article was immediately thrown out the window.

Sitting in the living room of my uncle's apartment in Falls Church, Virginia, barely a week after my mum had arrived from Nigeria to spend the holidays with my brother and I, my world was turned on its head as I heard the news of the attempted terror attack aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. My heart sunk once I heard that the suspect was a Nigerian national. A mixture of sadness and disappointment ran through me as more details of the incident on Flight 253 were revealed. It was on that December morning that I decided to use this article as an avenue to express some of my thoughts on the incident on Flight 253.

Nigeria is a country with an extensive history and rich culture. This is a country with more than 250 ethnic groups and where over 500 languages are spoken. Beyond its culture, with its abundant supply of natural resources, Nigeria boasts a thriving economy and has been cited as one of the "Next Eleven" - countries identified as having a high potential of becoming the world's largest economies in the 21st century. Nigeria has given birth to the likes of Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Laureate in Literature and Chinua Achebe, the father of modern African writing. For these reasons and many more, I am proud to be Nigerian. Nevertheless, all of my pride is still unable to blanket the infamous name Nigeria has created for itself on the international scene.

Nigerians are often associated with being famous for corruption, particularly e-mail fraud, and movies such as District 9 have only served to promote this stereotype by negatively depicting Nigerians as criminals and cannibals. As of December 25, 2009, because of the actions of one man, Nigeria is now identified with terrorism, as proven by our recent addition to the Transportation Security Administration's "countries of interest" list. Nigerians, both within and outside the country, have protested our addition to this list, including former federal capital territory minister Nasir El-Rufai. In a letter to President Barack Obama, El-Rufai expressed, among other things, "profound sadness and distress" on behalf of all Nigerians for the incident on Flight 253. His letter was an attempt to start repairing Nigeria's international relationship with the United States; a relationship which I recognize one letter will not salvage.

I am in no way concerned with the political ramifications of the incident on Flight 253, rather I am concerned with the plight of Nigerians following that incident. Because of the attempted terror attack aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253, Nigerians will inevitably be stereotyped as terrorists or simply "bad people," none of which sit well with me. Another Nigerian who was on the same Northwest Airlines flight couldn't have said it better when he said, "if you are Nigerian, and you are Muslim and your name is Abdul, then what people will think about is - the bomber." I recognize that it is impossible for me to control the perceptions of Nigerians across the globe even if I tried, but the least I can do is to try to shed some light on what impact the incident on Flight 253 will have on the everyday Nigerian.

I would like to ask that you take the time to reason with me for a moment. I would like to ask that you look at this situation from a different point of view, maybe not necessarily my perspective, but that of the average Nigerian. What happens now to the student whose sole goal is to attain the best education available, but has thwarted dreams of studying at an American college or university? What happens now to the father or mother whose children lives in the United States, but runs the risk of not being able to see them again? What happens now?

You might argue that you would never stereotype or profile a Nigerian, but simply because you have made that personal choice doesn't guarantee that the next person will do the same. We have to accept the fact there are people who will engage in reckless stereotyping, but I am asking that you not be such a person or condone any stereotypical behavior. Does an entire ethnic group, nation or continent have to pay for the actions of one individual?

I would like to clarify that this is in no way an attempt to justify the irrational and unjust actions of the individual who attempted to destroy Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. His attempt to destroy the plane would have denied 290 people of their fundamental human right to life and I am incapable of excusing such a heinous act. All I am asking is that we treat every Nigerian we meet with the same love and understanding that we would want to receive. This goes for not just Nigerians, but for all people. In times like this, regardless of religious or political affiliations, I am sure we can all agree that the golden rule still stands true.

That being said, I can assure you that I will not be joining any "Get Us off That List: Nigerians Are Not Terrorists" Facebook groups or peddling any "Nigeria Is Against Terrorism" t-shirts. Rather, I will continue to strive to be the best person I can be because, like my brother alluded to, "I have to do even more to prove myself as a decent human being."

Usen Esiet
President, ALANA Network

Monday, January 25, 2010


Published on: 1/17/2010.


THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST INDIES is in the process of conceiving how best to
deliver a major conference on the theme Rethinking And Rebuilding Haiti .
I am very keen to provide an input into this exercise because for too long
there has been a popular perception that somehow the Haitian nation-building
project, launched on January 1, 1804, has failed on account of mismanagement,
ineptitude, corruption.

Buried beneath the rubble of imperial propaganda, out of both
Western Europe and the United States , is the evidence which
shows that Haiti 's independence was defeated by an aggressive North-Atlantic
alliance that could not imagine their world inhabited by a free regime of
Africans as representatives of the newly emerging democracy.
The evidence is striking, especially in the context of France .

The Haitians fought for their freedom and won, as did the Americans fifty years earlier. The Americans declared their independence and crafted an extraordinary constitution that set out a clear message about the value of humanity and the right to freedom, justice, and liberty. In the midst of this brilliant discourse, they chose to
retain slavery as the basis of the new nation state. The founding fathers therefore could not see beyond race, as the free state was built on a slavery foundation. The water was poisoned in the well; the Americans went back
to the battlefield a century later to resolve the fact that slavery and freedom could not comfortably co-exist in the same place.

The French, also, declared freedom, fraternity and equality as the new philosophies of their national transformation and gave the modern world a tremendous
progressive boost by so doing. They abolished slavery, but Napoleon Bonaparte could not imagine the republic without slavery and targeted the Haitians for a
new, more intense regime of slavery. The British agreed, as did the Dutch,
Spanish and Portuguese.

All were linked in communion over the 500 000 Blacks in Haiti , the most populous and prosperous Caribbean colony. As the jewel of the Caribbean , they all wanted to get their hands on it. With a massive slave base, the English, French and Dutch salivated over owning it - and the people.

The people won a ten-year war, the bloodiest in modern history, and declared their independence. Every other country in the Americas was based on slavery.

Haiti was freedom, and proceeded to place in its 1805 Independence Constitution that any person of African descent who arrived on its shores would be declared free,
and a citizen of the republic. For the first time since slavery had commenced, Blacks were the subjects of mass freedom and citizenship in a nation. The French refused to recognise Haiti 's independence and declared it an illegal pariah state. The Americans, whom the Haitians looked to in solidarity as their mentor in independence, refused to recognise them, and offered solidarity instead to the French. The British, who were negotiating with the French to obtain the ownership title to Haiti , also moved in solidarity, as did every other nation-state the Western world.

Haiti was isolated at birth - ostracised and denied access to world trade, finance, and institutional development. It was the most vicious example of national strangulation recorded in modern history. The Cubans, at least, have had Russia , China , and Vietnam .

The Haitians were alone from inception. The crumbling began.

Then came 1825; the moment of full truth. The republic is celebrating its 21st anniversary. There is national euphoria in the streets of Port-au-Prince . The economy is bankrupt; the political leadership isolated. The cabinet took the decision that the state of affairs could not continue. The country had to find a way to be inserted back into the world economy. The French government was invited to a summit. Officials arrived and told the Haitian government that they were willing to recognise the country as a sovereign nation but it would have to pay compensation and reparation in exchange. The Haitians, with backs to the wall, agreed to pay the French. The French government sent a team of accountants and actuaries into Haiti in order to place a value on all lands, all physical assets, the 500 000 citizens were who formerly enslaved, animals, and all other commercial properties and services. The sums amounted to 150 million gold francs.

Haiti was told to pay this reparation to France in return for national recognition.

The Haitian government agreed; payments began immediately. Members of the Cabinet were also valued because they had been enslaved people before independence. Thus began the systematic destruction of the Republic of Haiti . The French government bled the nation and rendered it a failed state. It was a merciless exploitation that was designed and guaranteed to collapse the Haitian economy and society. Haiti was forced to pay this sum until 1922 when the last instalment was made.

During the long 19th century, the payment to France amounted to up to 70 per cent of the country's foreign exchange earnings. Jamaica today pays up to 70 per cent in order to service its international and domestic debt.

Haiti was crushed by this debt payment. It descended into financial and social chaos.
The republic did not stand a chance. France was enriched and it took pleasure from the fact that having been defeated by Haitians on the battlefield, it had won on the
field of finance. In the years when the coffee crops failed, or the sugar yield was down, the Haitian government borrowed on the French money market at double
the going interest rate in order to repay the French government. When the Americans invaded the country in the early 20th century, one of the reasons offered was to assist the French in collecting its reparations.

The collapse of the Haitian nation resides at the feet of France and America , especially. These two nations betrayed, failed, and destroyed the dream that was Haiti; crushed to dust in an effort to destroy the flower of freedom and the seed of

Haiti did not fail. It was destroyed by two of the most powerful nations on earth, both of which continue to have a primary interest in its current condition.

The sudden quake has come in the aftermath of summers of hate. In many ways the quake has been less destructive than the hate. Human life was snuffed out by the quake, while the hate has been a long and inhumane suffocation - a crime against humanity. During the 2001 UN Conference on Race in Durban , South
Africa , strong representation was made to the French government to repay the 150
million francs. The value of this amount was estimated by financial actuaries as US$21 billion. This sum of capital could rebuild Haiti and place it in a position to re-engage the modern world. It was illegally extracted from the Haitian people and should be repaid. It is stolen wealth. In so doing, France could discharge its moral obligation to the Haitian people.

For a nation that prides itself in the celebration of modern diplomacy, France , in order to exist with the moral authority of this diplomacy in this post-modern world, should do the just and legal thing. Such an act at the outset of this century would open the door for a sophisticated interface of past and present, and set the Haitian nation free at last.

Sir Hilary Beckles is pro-vice-chancellor and Principal of the Cave Hill Campus, UWI.


Click here to find a list of organizations, provided by CNN, that are providing their services to those in Haiti. All charities are categorized by what services they will provide.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


On January 12, 2010 an earthquake, with a magnitude estimated at 7.0, struck just before 5 p.m. about 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince crushing thousands of buildings, including the presidential palace and the UN peacekeeping headquarters. It is feared that over 100,000 people may be dead, but despite this tragic situation there still is hope.

Chinese emergency rescue team arrived early at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Jan. 14, 2010 to help with the rescue efforts.

Click Here to read the article.
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