By Jareliz Diaz
UConn’s NAACP chapter celebrated black excellence on campus. The event consisted of music, food, speeches and student performances from Praise Dance Ministry to Voices of Freedom.
Keynote speaker and internet personality, Demetrius Harmon, said he wanted to let students know that they are not alone during their journey.
“I’m trying to tie in my journey and things that I’m going through to get to where I am with you guys as students. A lot of times I go to college, the students I meet feel like they’re so different, but there’s so many parallels in the things that we go through,” Harmon said.
UConn senior Paula Norato said she felt comfortable and glad she was able to relate to Harmon.
“He was very relatable. It was really comforting and reassuring to know that other people feel the way you feel, and you’re not the only one going through this. I think it’s really great to hear from someone else about these things,” Norato said.
UConn student Eduardo Abreu found Harmon’s speech reassuring.
“It definitely was relatable, knowing how someone in his level that seems to have everything figured out to be in the same place that I feel like I am in right now in terms of my major and other things going in life made me feel reassured. It was shocking that someone my age can make it so far in life with all these campaigns and speeches and also be going through the same “I don’t know Phase” as me,” Abreu said.
Students were proud to be celebrating blackness on campus, and many felt as though this was their time to be appreciated for their achievements. Some of the awards presented at the event included Black Girl Magic, Graduate Student of the Year, Female Faculty of the Year and Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It is hard sometimes to come together and feel sometimes that there is a community, but the NAACP and AACC (African American Cultural Center) did a great job at giving us a space to be unapologetically black, and I think to have an event that honors blackness and that excellence and to put such a positive spin on something that society constantly negates and puts such a negative light to is just a beautiful thing,” Hawk said.
SUBOG Membership Development Vice President Seliana Seradieu said she was proud of the event and aimed to give a voice to those that did not have one.
“As a black woman on this campus, a lot of the times events that celebrate black excellence on campus get overshadowed and a group such as SUBOG that has so much pull on campus was something that we needed to do, especially in the state that our country is in, just life in general. One of my biggest goals this year was giving a voice to groups I felt like weren’t receiving a voice just, and this event just embodied everything that I stand for,” Seradieu said.