African/Arabic and Black Culture Clubs Celebrate Black History Month

Amine Yakine, advisor for the African/Arabis Cultural Union. Photo from Blue and Gold archives.

Yakine said “the story of Africa has been systematically denied to [people] for two reasons. The first is slavery: Europeans white racial supremacy and Apartheid (South Africa, and Algeria). The second is colonialism: Europeans had to invent an Africa as a place of wilderness, barrenness, savagery, and backwardness in order to justify the enslavement of Black Africans, colonialism, neo-colonialism and European cultural and economic hegemony over a very rich continent. Europe is what it is today because of the plunder, exploitation and the robbery of Africa’s wealth. [He] highly [recommends] ‘Leopold’s Ghosts’ as a start. This horrific past and Europe’s colonialist crimes did not determine the future of a resilient continent and the African people have not only overcome colonialism, genocide and foreign interference (coup d'etats and direct support of dictators), they have actually liberated themselves and are building a new future as we speak. As far as Black history is concerned, it is fundamentally central to American history. What is important is that we need to tell the story from a Black perspective. Truth be told, we must allow suffering to speak. [He] can not imagine the story of America without the great pain, sacrifices, and contributions of Black Americans. In fact, [he] argues that we are a better America, a kinder America, a gentler America because of the way Black people responded to extreme pain that we can talk about later with love when hate could be justified, with peace when violence could be justified with humility when arrogance could be justified and with the highest forms of humanity when inhumanity could be justified. The love, resilience, and will to live of Black Americans having gone trough slavery, Jim and Jane Crow, and dealing today with the vicious legacy of White Supremacy is a powerful American saga and story in this American mosaic and life.” 

Kristy Magras stated “[last] month, in conjunction with the African/Arabic Culture Club,  [they had] several activities planned. [They] had the door decorating contest where teachers volunteer to get their doors decorated. [They] were first only expecting to have about 10-15 doors decorated but [they] had an amazing response from the teachers and over 45 doors would be decorated. [She was] excited about the enthusiasm the staff [had] with this event. [We thought] this [was] going to be an amazing opportunity for staff and students to kind of build some positive collaborations.” 

The winning door decorated in honor of Black History Month outside the main office. Photo by Chaimaa Assli.

The winning group, (the step team that decorated the main office’s door) received a pizza party which Magras expressed that she was “really excited about.” Magras also expressed excitement about the Black and African Art Museum held on the last week of February that highlighted the art and culture of Black and African communities from Africa, South America, Central America, the Carribeans and North America. The two clubs also had an evening on the 27th of a cultural showcase where students from different clubs [taught] participants or audience members a variety of things in the Black and African Communities such as step dancing, African dancing, how to tie head wraps—in addition to a movie viewing and discussion afterward. The Black Culture Club also had a couple of the students go to the K-8 schools to read a book about a young girl of dark complexion that tells a story about learning to love her skin.

Malden High School held many activities in honor of Black History Month such as the door decorating contest, the Black and African Art Museum at the gallery on the week of the 24th, an evening meeting where club members taught the audience aspects of the Black and African cultures followed by a movie, and last but not least members of the Black Culture Club went to the K-8 schools to read a book about a young girl’s battle against insecurities and her journey to feeling proud about her dark complexion, all in an effort to educate Malden about the rich culture of the people who inhabit the city.

Kaoutar Wakaf

Kaoutar Wakaf is a 15 year old sophomore at Malden High School. Wakaf was born in France but has national origins in Morocco and Tunisia. She came to the U.S at the age of two. Wakaf speaks multiple languages including Arabic, French and English. She listens to a lot of indie and Arabic music and would like to travel to Tunisia or Italy. Her favorite color is green and she plays volleyball and also swims for Malden High School. Wakafs’ favorite food is Moroccan couscous and her favorite subject is history. In her free time Wakaf likes to read books. Her favorite books are The Hunger Games series.

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