On the evening of Monday, Feb 28., the Multicultural Affairs Committee and the Black Student Union united to host the Black History Month edition of Common Ground.
Held on the last day of Black History Month, the event was dedicated to finding the similarities among, and celebrating the differences within, the Samford community, in order to show those in attendance how they are more alike than different and have more in common than they might at first realize.
The night of gathering was hosted at Harry’s Coffeehouse, where tables across the room had been numbered. Facilitators at each table were there to help guide their respective groups in discussion. Those attending were assigned a table and given a name tag to write on, and could visit the tables in the back for a variety of different snacks and drinks.
Once everybody had settled in, Christa Chery, the director of the Multicultural Affairs Committee, and Alexis Oliver, the public relations director for the Black Student Union, started things off with a scripture reading from 1 Corinthians 1:10.
The verse discusses the importance of gathering in unity and reads, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Jadyn Kilgore, assistant director of the MAC, then laid out the Ground Rules for the discussions that were to take place, including “Honor and respect people’s experiences and stories,” “Assume good intentions,” and “Take responsibility for what you say,” to name a few.
Also briefly covered was a Definition Box of phrases and concepts that everybody might not have been familiar with, such as “Implicit Bias” and “Cultural Appropriation.” The facilitators at each table knew these terms so they could explain them if anyone got lost or confused.
The discussions were broken up into three main “Rounds,” with individual questions the facilitators could ask the group from the given category as a way to begin and guide the conversation. These rounds included Round 1: Digging Deep, Round 2: Honoring Black History Month, and Round 3: Looking Forward.
After the groups had moved through each round of discussion points, there was a Major Takeaways section where people from around the room could share what they had talked about and taken away from the conversations with the rest of the people in attendance.
Ambria Underwood concluded the night’s events with a Call to Action centered around the theme of service. Underwood also discussed the importance of being a single unified family, one that can serve as an example to others. To illustrate this importance, Underwood quoted Matthew 5:14-16.
The verse reads, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Underwood ended with a final closing prayer.
Afterward, links were provided on-screen indicating where people could follow to stay connected with the various diversity groups on campus, along with a QR code and email for anyone who wishes to request training from the MAC. Those interested in said training can contact Chery or Kilgore at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Arts & Life Editor