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Monday, April 28, 2014

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY STUDENTS PROTEST COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER CONDOLEEZZA RICE

Writer: Christopher Etienne
Writer: Ijeoma Unachukwu
Editor: Justin Hockaday

Approximately 50 protestors arrived at the historic “Old Queens” office building of Rutgers University President Robert Barchi Monday afternoon to contest the institution’s decision to invite former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the 2014 Commencement speaker.

The university revealed Rice’s status as the keynote speaker in late February.

With plans to give her an honorary law degree and $35,000 for her appearance, the announcement sparked political controversy and debate on campus due to her role in the Iraq War.

“Robert Barchi is not listening to the student population; he is supposed to represent us…” said Rutgers University student Nisa Haider, “he is turning a deaf ear toward the cries of us Rutgers students.”

Regardless of Barchi’s intentions or hearing capabilities, he was not physically present in his office for the duration of the protest, but security was.  

Denying protestors’ access to restrooms as well as refusing them re-entry once they left the premises of the Old Queens office, campaigners found the conditions surrounding the demonstration less than desirable.

However, this protest was just the latest extension in the Rice selection controversy as some faculty members, who chose to remain anonymous, voiced their dissatisfaction with the selection process.

Stating, “Usually there is an invitation to the administration to nominate a speaker. However, this year the only thing that we received was a notification that Condoleezza Rice was already selected... No need to make a nomination.”

Activists from the student organization “Students for Justice in Palestine” echoed these sentiments regarding the lack of diplomacy in this year’s selection, and demanded a platform to speak with President Barchi. 

Protestor Sherif Ibrahim agreed, “We want a meeting with Barchi … and we want it to happen while we’re in the building.”

Nonetheless, because students were prohibited re-entry to the Old Queens office after leaving, many went hours without eating until the evening approached and officials announced that the building would close.

After some deliberation, students vacated the premises to avoid facing prosecution.

Despite the adversity, these Rutgers students adamantly insisted that they will continue to contest Barchi’s decision until their cries are acknowledged.

In a statement sent from Barchi to the student body regarding the issue of Rice’s selection earlier this month, he stated the following:

“We have even heard from high school students who have written to say that they would withdraw their Rutgers applications if we rescind – or fail to rescind – our invitation to her, [Rice]” Barchi wrote.  “These are the kinds of exchanges that every great university welcomes.  Like all vibrant intellectual communities, Rutgers can thrive only when it vigorously defends the free exchange of ideas in an environment of civil discourse.”

Yet, some would argue that this “free exchange of ideas” Barchi referenced has a cost. 


With only a few short weeks until the university’s commencement ceremony, it will be interesting to see how much each faction is willing to pay in order to defend its ideas surrounding this issue.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rutgers University West Indian Student Organization CARIBBEAN DAY 2014

Students, musicians, and faculty gathered at the Rutgers University Paul Robeson Center, April 19th, 2014 in a celebration of West Indian culture and unity.  With live performances, a fashion show, and great vendors, the West Indian Student Organization (WISO) delivered yet another successful installment of its annual "Caribbean Day" celebration.  Performers included WISO's very own dance team, up and coming artists, as well as a marquee performance by popular Jamaican artist Baby Cham.  Check out the highlights below!

WISO CARIBBEAN DAY PART ONE HIGHLIGHTS


WISO SWIMWEAR FASHION SHOW


WISO DANCE TEAM PERFORMANCE


BABY CHAM PERFORMANCE
For more highlights check out Ray Cheley's Youtube Channel entitled "The Taste Bud Reviewer" OR on our "NABJ News" Youtube page.

Friday, April 18, 2014

RU Wanawake "Black Dynasty" Banquet

Writer: Tatiana Zamis
Editor: Justin Hockaday

In an honorary ceremony showcasing African-American excellence and philanthropy on Friday April 18, 2014 in the Rutgers University Student Center, RU Wanawake’s “Black Dynasty” Banquet provided attendees with a sense of empowerment.

Wanawake “aims to develop initiatives that assist women and men of all races, encouraging them to make an impact in society while giving them a reason to celebrate their womanhood/manhood… [giving] children the resources for excellent achievement and the tools to dream far beyond any limitation, especially African children and other Minorities…”

"Project Dental All" 
Certainly fulfilling their mission with this event, Wanawake provided an award to an organization that is working hard to accomplish those aforementioned initiatives.

“Project Dental All,” is a New Jersey based non-profit organization that provides proper dental hygiene care and products to people across the world who are not fortunate enough to have the necessary resources to do so themselves.

With operations in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Haiti, and several other locations throughout the world, the charitable organization humbly accepted the recognition while expressing optimism about the future as the crowd applauded.

Also an award recipient was the accomplished Rutgers University senior Alyea Pierce, author of “Every Stranger Deserves a Poem” and celebrating the recent release of her EP entitled “A Stranger’s Voice.”

Host: Quadeer Porter
“We wanted to expand our ideas, open it up to both sexes and find a representation of their great impact,” stated RU Wanawake Public Relations chair Faidat Gbajabiamila, “We were inspired by the theme of TWESE’s “Black Excellence” and wanted to give our guests a feeling of royalty when they walked in the room.”

When asked to describe how he felt about the event, Rutgers’ alumni and host, Quadeer Porter simply stated that he was “humbled to host something with such a positive atmosphere, where people of color can come together for an empowering event.”

Keynote Speaker: Kofi Genfi
Echoing Porter’s humility and sense of achievement were the event’s two guest speakers.

“In order to ascend to the next level, the next dimension, you have to break through this glass ceiling,” said keynote speaker Kofi Genfi, “And by breaking through this glass ceiling you have to expect that there may be some bloodshed… I told myself that I could either stay in crisis or keep going, and I chose to keep going.”

Keynote Speaker: Yetunde Odugbesan
Genfi emphasized the importance of taking pride in one’s identity, stressing “Don’t ever undermine your importance to the world. Your presence inspires the people from where you are from… Your name means something – so make sure they pronounce it correctly.”

Following Genfi was Yetunde Odugbesan, a highly sought after and dynamic public speaker who sent the message that “Your passion will lead you to your purpose.” And spoke on the importance of minority students preparing themselves with practical experience and knowledge prior to entering the workforce. 

Thus, with exciting events such as their “Wana-Showoff” Talent show in the fall semester, their annual banquet, and meetings every Tuesday night promoting intellectual thought and community service programs, RU Wanawake’s “Black Dynasty” banquet did not only exemplify those in the community promoting excellence, but epitomized everything they stand for as an organization.

RU Wanawake is no longer an up and coming organization, they have arrived.





Saturday, April 12, 2014

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY BLACK STUDENT UNION UNITY DAY 2014

President of Black Student Union, Fawzan “Fez” Lari is very passionate about the issues that affect the minority communities on and off the Rutgers Campus. Lari sat down and told us about the history of Unity day and why it was important to students of all cultures.  


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pink Ties for Progress: Douglass Black Students Congress Raise Breast Cancer Awareness

Writer: Justin Hockaday

National Association of Black Journalists: Rutgers University

Rutgers University students and distinguished guests arrived dressed to impress for a good cause, April 5th, 2014 for the 2nd Annual "Pink Tie Affair" hosted by the Douglass Black Students Congress (D.B.S.C.).

In an effort to raise Breast Cancer awareness, the banquet featured guest speakers, spoken word performances, as well as a luminary ceremony which honored those past and present who have been afflicted by the disease. 

"The preparation for Pink Tie, without a doubt, was a group effort..." offered D.B.S.C. historian and public relations chair Egypt Pringley, "We work hard to keep our reputation as an organization that hosts good, quality events."

Jimi Gbadamosi, Public Relations chair for TWESE, the Rutgers University organization for African students and friends of Africa, appreciated their commitment, "I like the fact that as young, African-American college students, we're able to come together and do something to support a cause rather then just spending money to go to a party in the student center.  Positive events like these speak volumes for our community."

Furthermore, as guest speakers Dorothy Reed and Lareatha Payne's words resonated with the audience, one could see why D.B.S.C.'s reputation of quality has been maintained. 

Dorothy Reed: Sisters Network Representative
Reed, a Sisters Network representative, works within her Central New Jersey network to bolster awareness in the African American community about the devastating impacts of Breast Cancer, while providing assistance to patients across the tri-state area.

"For 14 years we have educated the community, and we have educated ourselves...  A woman should not die because she does not have money for a mammogram."  

Affirming the importance of education, early detection, and prevention, Reed addressed the statistics regarding African-American women and Breast Cancer, and explained the ongoing solutions that Sisters Network is striving for.  

However, it was the humorous yet strong words that followed by Breast Cancer survivor Lareatha Payne that set the tone of hope and renewal for the remainder of the evening, "We always think of cancer as being a death sentence... Well, that was 16 years ago and I still look pretty good don't I?"

Payne spoke candidly about her experience and struggles, including a time in which she went "symptom free" for 7 years after her original Breast Cancer diagnosis, only to wake up one day feeling "off" and becoming informed that the cancer had spread.  

It was in that moment where Payne said she made a decision, in the face of death, "I decided that I was going to live... I was going to deal with this in a fighting, healing mode... I had to forgive, I was inspired by the story of Job and how after his affliction God held promise... I took on a tone of laughter." 

Her resilience reflected a courageous attitude few are capable of in the face of such adverse circumstances, but Payne noted how she was not alone in her fight. 
Egypt Pringley: D.B.S.C. Historian and Public Relations Chair

The Sisters Network provided her with the support she needed to overcome Breast Cancer.

Similarly, D.B.S.C. President Siobhan Barrington echoed these sentiments of sisterhood. 

"As the President I feel like I can only lead if I have a supportive army behind me, and that is exactly what I have, an army of strong women standing next to me making things happen..."

The future is bright for the well established Douglass Black Students Congress, and while Barrington is not exactly sure of what event might come next, she added with a smirk that whatever it may be, 

"These are all the sisters that I never asked for, but couldn't be any more proud to have."