Small audience attends Black Student Union’s showing of ‘They Are We’

The documentary They Are We, was shown in honor of Black History Month in Legacy’s Multipurpose Room on Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. There were only six people in the room and a few came and went throughout the film.

Syreeta Greene, director of equity, inclusion, and multicultural affairs, discussed the attendance of the event, “I was expecting more people to come watch the documentary, but there’s a variety of events that happen on campus and not everybody comes out to everything. That is certainly something I hope to work with, to create a culture on campus where students attend both fun and social as well as educational events,” she said.

The documentary celebrated the reunion of a separated family. Cuban members of the Ganga-Longoba ethnic group have kept their heritage alive for decades. They have kept a collection of songs and dances that their ancestors brought from Africa as slaves. They perform them every year at the same time.

Anthropologist Emma Christopher spent two years showing a film of the Ganga-Longoba songs and dances, and eventually found an isolated village in Sierra Leone that recognized the tradition and brought them together in 2013 after years of separation.

At the end of the documentary, Greene talked to the small group of students about the importance of knowing about their ancestors and traditions.

“I talked to my grandma about the great depression and she said she was good. She was married and had a job and it was very surprising to me. I didn’t know about that,” Greene said.

Greene said to the students that it’s always good to know these things because once people pass on their stories go with them and they’ll never know what kinds of traditions go on in the family.

“This film was an interesting way to talk about the impact of slavery and the desire of those descendants of slaves to want to know where their roots come from and to be able to look at how widespread the impact of slavery is,” she said.

Greene talked about the past Black History Month events that have occurred and how successful they have been.

“We had different types of events to attract different types of students. I think we’ve had a pretty good success,” she said,“This is the first year we’ve ever coordinated a month of events, so we’re pretty excited about it,” she said.

Mechanical engineering senior and African Student Organization member, Jenom Pyeng, said he attended this event because he wanted to learn about culture.

“It was a great clip, I wasn’t expecting to see how closely related the Cubans and Africans were. I was touched,” he said, “This is something that should be shown more, so we all know what’s going on in Africa,” he said.

Pyeng said the film helped expand his view on culture. “While watching the movie, I felt like I was there. I learned a lot from it,” he said.

“I plan on attending more Black History month events this month to learn more about our culture and help students get involved in it as well,” he said.

There are four more Black History Month events hosted by Black Student Union. Their meetings are every other Sunday in Prothro-Yeager room 209 at 7 p.m.