The Griot Student Newspaper Title

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This Issue

Habri Gani!

UCLA Takes Notice...

Off The Hook

10 Helpful Hints for
College Beginners

You Can Do it Too!

Batter Up for
College Success

Minority Transfer Program

Strategies for Academic Success

It's in Your Hands

Foothill in Palo Alto...Middlefield Campus

Join our Shades of Africa Club

Vice Chancellor Judith James to Speak at King Luncheon

Historical Black College Tours

Faculty & Staff News

Students in the News

Griots from Senegal

Community Leaders Recognized

Foothill Supports Community Cultural Event

Harambee 2001

Attack on America

Calendar of Events

Leon BeachmanThe African American Network presented the Ujima Award to five community leaders during Harambee 2001. Beautifully engraved plaques were presented to the beaming recipients. The award recognizes and honors many years of dedicated service and demonstrated commitment that have helped students of African ancestry succeed in higher education. The awards, to be presented annually, were presented to the following community leaders:

Cozetta Quinn, arts educator, member of the faculty at De Anza College and DeYoung Museum docent was recognized for the more than a decade of support. She has consistently provided for increasing the awareness and appreciation for African arts, and artists of African ancestry by collaborating and mounting the annual arts exhibit featuring noted artists of African ancestry in February. Cozetta is a member of the Links, Inc., Peninsula Chapter and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Rho Delta Omega Chapter.

Sara Boyd, educator and retired Sequoia Unified district administrator and member of the Links, Inc., Peninsula Chapter, was recognized for her decades of service as an educator, advocate, and community service participant for supporting the success of students of African ancestry on the Peninsula.

Leon Beachman, community service director for Pacific Bell, was recognized for consistent support of cultural programming, education advocacy and public service as a member of the Santa Clara County Board of Education.

Michael Cunningham, engineer and contract specialist with the Defense Contract Management Agency at Lockheed Martin and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Sigma Lambda Chapter, was recognized for many years of consistent community service and community support involvement with the AAHM program at Foothill College.

Rose Deslonde, De Anza College biology Instructor, Baselius of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Rho Delta Omega Chapter, and member of the Links, Inc., San Jose Chapter, was recognized for community service, contributions as an educator to the broader community and contributions to the AAHM program at Foothill.

Virginia Groce-Roberts, musician and educator in the Alum Rock School District, was recognized for her consistent contributions for more than a decade that have sustained the development of the gospel music program at Foothill and the annual Make a Joyful Noise Gospel concert.

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Foothill Supports Cultural Event
By MariaElena Apodaca, Foothill Outreach Staff

The Afribbean 2001 Music and Cultural Festival was held on July 28-29 in downtown Mountain View. Many members of Foothill’s staff and students from Shades of Africa (African student club) volunteered at our college recruiting tent, sharing information on our programs and services, as well as balloons with the community. This festival was a great chance to celebrate the rich heritage of the Afro-Latin, Afro-Caribbean and African cultures. There were exotic foods, music and great fun for the kids. This was a family event where people could come together and share their culture and diversity. Foothill’s African American Network newspaper, the Griot, was widely distributed. Who knows? Today’s readers may be tomorrow’s new Foothill students.

Jean Thomas, Counselor, converses with Afribbean patron

Jean Thomas, Counselor, converses with
Afribbean patron at the Foothill table

Foothill family staff

Foothill family staff the table at the Affribean festival. Clockwise from left, Emma Adou, Frances Gusman, John DuBois, Yulianty Adjina and Melanie Pla-Richard

Foothill students Yulianty, Kadidia, Astou and Emma

Foothill students Yulianty, Kadidia, Astou and Emma distribute The Griot newspaper to Afribbean festival participants

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Harambee 2001 Title

by Natalia Menendez, Foothill Faculty

Oakland writer Ishmael Reed, a long standing fan of boxing and Muhammed Ali, a proud, patriotic African American Muslim, published Writin is Fightin, a collection of essays of protest commentary, and celebration of multicultural America. Reed’s boxing gloves are his computer, his blows the swift insights he delivers to the head, eyes, ears and heart, with all the care and concern of a good old friend. In that vein, we could call Harambee 2001, “Ritin is Fightin!” The Rites of Passage celebration that took place in June was not exactly a fight, but the culmination of many students, long struggles, fights, slips, and successes to their day of transfer, graduation or receipt of certificate. It must have felt like a fight to some of the students, who prevailed over an array of difficulties (transportation, finances, housing, etc.) to see their goals come to fruition.

Harambee ImageLike Reed’s prose, the ceremony was full of power, love, insight, and deep connections to an ancestral spirit that ties all of humanity together, through African and African American idioms: drum, dance, libation, prayer, song, praise, poetry, respect and homage to elders and ancestors with blessings, advice and joy for the youth.

The ceremony’s long standing tradition of drumming processional led into the libation, orated carefully by Anyika Nkululeko who asked the elders’ permission to begin, and led us through acknowledgement of those who came before us and on whose strength we still draw, The “Dance for His Glory” group danced both a traditional West African dance, and a modern-day praise dance, which inspired everyone in the room.

Foothill’s own Fountainetta Coleman and her mother, Jeanetta, teamed up to a drumming/poetry duo that took our breath away. Jeanetta Coleman spoke Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise, with a voice that drew out layers of strength and pain in Angelou’s words. Fountainetta — a powerful young woman with the drumming hands of many generations moving through her body — made our hearts beat and rise still higher.

Harambee ImageThe speaker was Foothill graduate Saree Mading, who spoke frankly about her idea of success. Saree told graduates what she thought was key to “pull your life together”, and that was to “listen to your voice” inside. Saree told us that she had spent years avoiding her inner voice that was asking her to become a teacher. She feared it, and yet it still pursued her. She urged us not to measure success by outside forces (degree, job, housing, etc.) but instead to measure it by checking how close we are to our real dreams and goals? To what my heart really tells me I want from life? Wise words from an educator in the midst of Silicon Valley’s potential to warp our values toward external success.

Awards were given for academic excellence and leadership on campus, and a special award to Melanie Pla-Richard for all of her outstanding leadership and service to the African American Network.

The “Ritin” of Harambee 2001 Rites of Passage was Righteous that day, and everybody left with a sense that there is so much to fight for, so much to be thankful for, and so much to celebrate.

We invite you to experience Harambee 2002 on Friday, June 28, at 4 p.m.

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A Tribute to Elizabeth Darling
Forever in Our Hearts

by Melanie Pla-Richard

Elizabeth DarlingElizabeth Darling dropped her son Michael off at his daycare center on the morning of Sept.11. Accompanied by her beloved younger brother, they exchanged good-byes and she entered World Trade Tower I, the first tower to be hit during the terrorist attacks. Elizabeth worked on the 97th floor and is one of the thousands missing and dead.

I last saw Lizzie at my niece Tajuana’s wedding just one month before the deadly attack. I remember her radiant beauty and loving spirit. She was honored to be in Tajuana’s wedding as they had been best childhood friends.

Life was not easy for Lizzie but she was always optimistic, hard-working and determined to make life better for herself and her son. She adored her younger brother and loved her son tremendously. As a single parent, Lizzie overcame many challenges along the road to her success. She graduated from State University New York at Albany and worked as a technology manager for a company housed in the twin WTC. Lizzie was free spirited and possessed a love for life. She pursued yoga and photography as her hobbies and was preparing for a career as an entrepreneur. Lizzie had planned to take her son to Disney World at the end of September. My prayers go out to Lizzie, her family and friends. Forever you shall remain in the hearts of those who love you.

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