by Claire Miller
The Department of African-American Studies at Georgia State University was created in the early 1990s, following growing tension on campus and students, faculty and other community members’ persistence in asking the university administration to establish such a department.
While faculty members worked on a proposal for creating the department, students organized sit-ins and stayed in contact with the dean of students throughout the entire process, demonstrating that those who put their mind to making a difference in their community can effect change.
On March 22, the College of Education’s Alonzo A. Crim Center for Urban Educational Excellence will host the 2nd annual “Power of Students,” a student-organized event showcasing how the collective power of students can impact their communities.
This year’s event, called “Rise of a New Voice,” will detail the history of the Department of African-American Studies and highlight how students’ involvement helped create social change.
“The story we’re trying to tell is that this happened because students stood up for what they believed was right,” said COE student and Crim Center intern Rebecca Ammazi. “We as students are able to initiate change.” Amazi is co-chairing the event with Crim Center intern Mila Seals.
The event, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the GSU Speakers Auditorium (44 Courtland St., Atlanta), will feature a four-person panel who will speak about the climate on campus when the department was created and the power of nonviolent methods of change. Panelists include Akinyele Umoja, African-American Studies department chair; Doris Derby, the first director of the Office of African-American Student Services and Programs; Eric Bridges, GSU alumnus and sit-in participant; and Carolyn Denard, former GSU faculty member who helped present the proposal to create the Department of African-American Studies.
Ammazi said she hopes attendees leave the event with a better understanding of the historical events that led to the department’s creation and the sense that they, too, can make a difference both on campus and in their own communities.
“I hope they leave knowing more about what happened on campus in 1992 with a sense of pride,” she said. “And maybe in the future, they’ll remember the power of students and feel confident enough to make changes.”
For more information about the event, contact Ammazi at email@example.com.
The Power of Students: Rise of a New Voice
Date: March 22, 2012
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: GSU Speakers Auditorium
44 Courtland St., Atlanta
Contact: Rebecca Ammazi, event co-chair