The digital age has made it easy for one to forget about the not so distant past and its important lessons. Through various events Minds About Progress is hoping to remind students of the past’s importance and its vital part in the progression of society. In an effort to do just that M.A.P hosted “Sankofa: Revitalizing Our Community” on April 13 at Whitehurst Beach.
Minds About Progress, also referred to as M.A.P is a student based organization here at Old Dominion whose mission is to promote unity throughout various communities and cultures. Through educational programs, lectures and events, M.A.P also works to decrease the disparities between males and females and the hostilities and ignorance amongst all races and cultures.
Saturday the beach was filled with the usual volleyball enthusiasts and religious tanners, but it wasthe eagerness and excitement of “Sankofa” from the gazebo that made this Saturday at the beach different from all the others. “Sankofa” featured drummers, and a group of African-inspired dancers who moved along to the beat of the drum. The entertainment was coupled with everyone’s favorite cookout food. Minds About Progress came prepared with fresh pitchers of lemonade, alongside hot dogs fresh off the grill with your favorite side of chips.
In addition to the drummers and dancers, the event featured spoken word performances by members ODU’s poetry and spoken word organization, Floetic Movement. The poetry was inspired by the meaning of Sankofa.. Scott Tillman, president of M.A.P , explained “Sankofa is an African bird that has its head turned backwards. The meaning behind this is for people to go back and to reclaim your history.” He emphasized that it does not matter where you came from, that it is all about taking what you know and uniting people.
The poetry drew in a reasonable sized crowd, who seemed to cling onto every word spoken. Sara Hassan, a junior at ODU, said “I found the poetry to be very touching. It was nice to see an event at ODU where people are deeply connected to where they came from and [it] made me want to learn more about my own culture.”
Minds About Progress successfully allowed students to experience African culture thus allowing them a chance to gain better understanding of the culture and its roots. The event’s turnout and positive feedback from attendees pleased the organization. “Sankofa” is something M.A.P hopes to continue in later years. M.A.P looks forward to seeing the emergence of positivity and unity amongst the students at ODU.
By: Meghan Larson