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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.

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