Anna-Catherine Kueng ~Assistant Editor
On March 27, 2019, there was an interest meeting held for the African Student Association, “inviting people of African descent and persons interested in exploring and participating in the rich African heritage to join us.”
The African Student Association will begin to meet next academic year, and it will be their first year at the University of Lynchburg.
“We just want to spread awareness about the African culture and what goes on in Africa. People think Africa is a really small place where everyone knows each other, but it is made up of 54 diverse countries. West Africa is different from North Africa, and so on,” said Danielle Ibru, vice president of the African Student Association.
“Not only do we want to educate the Lynchburg community about Africa, but about our heritages. We have so many different cultures and tribes in Africa, and things can be very different in them,” said Ivypel Amankwa-Asare, president of the African Student Association.
In addition to spreading awareness and celebrating heritage, Amankwa-Asare said, “We also want to serve. A huge part of the University of Lynchburg is serving and we are thinking about serving anywhere, from the Boys and Girls Club to other opportunities.”
In particular, Amankwa-Asare hopes the African Student Association will get involved with an organization called Free the Slaves. According to Free the Slave’s website, its mission is “liberating slaves and changing the conditions that allow slavery to persist”’ and its guiding principles are “inclusion, transparency, [and] accountability.”
“Free the Slaves works with child trafficking and sex trafficking in northern parts of Africa, like Egypt. It is a big organization. That is one big organization that I will propose to them and see if they want to fundraise for, but there are so many things we can do,” Amankwa-Asare said.
Amankwa-Asare would also like to see the African Student Association serve at the Park View Community Mission in Lynchburg. According to their website, “The zip code that the Park View is located in and serves the most is the 4th poorest zip code in all of Virginia. The truth is that the majority of the people we serve are hardworking and honest individuals who have experienced circumstances that have brought them to a place of financial insecurity (as many people face at different points in their life). Others have been raised in generational poverty and struggle to make ends meet daily. That is why we are working to empower and educate individuals to recognize their potential and live the full lives they were created for.”
“There are so many places within in the community where we can serve,” said Amankwa-Asare.
“Anyone is welcomed to join our organization. It is not just for Africans but people of African descent, like from the Caribbeans. We are thinking about naming the club African Diaspora,” said Amankwa-Asare.