CUSD Students Host Virtual “Awakening the Strength of our Culture”

CUSD students Kendall McCoy and Genesis Jasper gave an opening introduction for the “Awakening the Strength of our Culture” virtual conference on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (CUSD)

Clovis Unified School District presented a virtual celebration, “Awakening the Strengths of our Culture.” The event was moderated by CUSD students and live streamed on the district’s website.

“Today we are privileged to pay special attention to black history but more importantly to shine a light on the need to promote black history and education, 365 days a year,” said Naazima Abdul-Hamed, CUSD student.

The presentation was solely student-driven. The event highlighted iconic black figures, interpreted dancing performances, and poetry.

“After all, studies show that black children are empowered and enthusiastic about learning black history. It builds self-esteem, leadership, and teaches all children the historical values of more than 400 years of struggle, resilience, and perseverance,” said Adul-Hamed.

Two modern-day icons were featured. The first was Nia Franklin, the first black woman crowned Miss America 2019, breaking the eurocentric beauty standard.

Another icon was the late Chadwick Boseman. Throughout his acting career, he refused to take roles that depicted the stereotypical black man in Hollywood. Boseman was best known for his role as the hero, T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther, which set a milestone in black culture.

A rendition of the classical jazz song, “Summertime” was also performed by a CUSD student. The song was originally sung by Ella Fitzgerald, released in 1957 but originally composed by George Gershwin in 1934.

A CUSD student stated that Historically Black Colleges and Universities played a role in the strengthening of Black History.

HBCU’s provided schooling for African-American students when there was a time pursuing education at a white institution was impossible.

The event is still available for viewing on CUSD’s website. To watch, click here.

Tori Lavon is a Multimedia Journalist from Reedley, California. She received her Bachelor's in Mass Communications and Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcasting from California State University, Fresno. Currently, she is a radio intern at One Putt Broadcasting. On occasion, Tori has the opportunity to be on-air with talent. She is getting her start in media. She has a passion for reporting, photography, and videography. Tori also has a love for art; she loves to draw, paint, and does pottery on the side. One day she hopes she can be on-air talent at a radio station as well.