About Last Friday Night
By Kalvin Satiacum
Video content courtesy of TCC BSU
Thanks for tuning in, this is Kalvin. We have reached the end of Black History Month, and looking back over the month I wanted to take some time to talk about things that stuck out to me about the Ebony Ball and Black History Month in general. Big props to BSU for hosting the Ebony Ball which was such a great time. I really enjoyed the Key Note Speaker Elmer Dixon. I could honestly listen to Black Panthers talk all day. For me it was such a great cultural reminder of the substantial impact that has been made by the Black Panther Party/ Movement, the community values they instilled with their ground work. To see the echos of their work reverberate today, is absolutely beautiful. I can not help, but think that TCC bus passes are a direct result of this sort of uplifting community mindset.
Sitting and enjoying the atmosphere at the Ebony Ball I wasn’t sure what to except for at first. They started with brief introductions, and gave a very well spoken Land Acknowledgment. It's great to see a 'Rainbow Coalition' of people supporting each other. As someone of indigenous heritage it was a joy to hear and see the land acknowledgment, at such an opulent event. It was really a great way to continue the Rainbow Collation so long ago. It's been far too long since we seen such strong community unity.
As an indigenous person, I had an emotional response to the music and dancing. It really made me miss my own cultural gatherings and was further a reminder of how important these things are. The importance of people coming together, and gathering for cultural exchanges can never be underestimated. To exchange words of encouragement, and uplift each other. As people of the land, and the woods, and the jungles, our connectedness is through music, song, dance, story telling, we are tied to the land, and the cosmos. I wish theses sorts of things didn’t only happen once per year, and only during Black History Month. There may have not been any prayer, but I definitely had a spiritual experience.
In that spiritual experience I really began to wonder about African spiritual diaspora. African people have had such a troubled history in someways worse than indigenous peoples of North America. I think its really important as earthlings and as humans that we understand each other spirituality. I think in part due to ongoing systemic racism, the vilification of African people, their spirituality has suffered greatly. What remains of their spiritual cultural heritage has been forced underground in order to save itself from forms of Christianity that were forced upon them from what was traditionally practiced by their ancestors.
But once you start to learn about Vodou, Hoodoo, Santeria, Candomble, Orisha. Lwa, etc etc. I realized a couple things. Everybody prays before they eat. The people more connected to the land and the animals pray over the land and animals before taking. The religions and spiritualities that more earthly connected also asked the plant, the animal, the earth before taking. I think that the fears dependence on land is what may have posed such a threat to Western Christianity. When you’re from the woods you don’t need money, it is naturally and divinely provided. Likewise you're supposed to redistribute wealth back to the community and further invest back into the land. To not do that is seen as disruptive to the web and cycles of life.
For many of us it's reasonable to believe life started in Africa. I think spirituality in general started in Africa as well. I’m not sure if it's really talked about honored. However, for people in the campus community we got to see a small glimpse of that on Friday. While it wasn't a spiritual event, it had the makings of bringing people of different backgrounds together; to dance along with the beautiful music and dances of the Gangsango (a west African style) and enjoy an elegant dinner, listening to fabulous key note speaker.
I really couldn’t have asked for a better night. BSU also gave away some really wonderful art pieces.
I originally wanted to write about Haiti. As I believe its very important cultural and spiritual place. Haiti, as we know is a nation founded through slave uprising following major Vodou ceremony. And the dominate society has had a fear of such spirituality ever since. They have done everything they can to destroy it, yet we remain. Hidden in the shadows of our community, families, home, and the woods. Being a survivor of this ongoing genocide against people of color, I think its important to realize that a a vast majority of what is called Voodoo in pop culture is a demeaning monetization of afro spirituality, and is only meant to maximize and make profits from mongering fear about dark skinned people. In the past this demeaning form of capitalism was done in order to help keep innocent white girls safe. For myself, a fair skinned Indian; it was incredibly healing to attend the Ebony Ball and participate in Black History month.