Sewanee is home to a wide range of clubs and organizations that work to improve our campus and engage our student body. This week’s Campus Profile highlights the work of the African American Alliance, an organization that focuses on issues of racism, diversity, and inclusion. We talked to AAA’s president, Brandon Iracks-Edelin, to talk more about the African American Alliance and upcoming events they’ll be hosting.
“We think that it is important to bring issues that are often ignored and swept under the rug to attention on campus. Sewanee is known for being a bubble and people think it is flawless, but it has problems like everything else in this world.” AAA works on addressing these issues through hosting events or working with other organizations to talk about issues on campus. Of the issues AAA focuses on, Brandon highlights one specifically. “Although there are many issues on campus, I think the biggest one is the disconnection between the institution and the multi-cultural students. In AAA we plan out the entire black history month by ourselves. This should not be the case, because we should have a department on campus that is responsible for that. We have great events, but with the institution’s help, they could be better and have a greater influence on campus. This also is connected to the curriculum and the lack of multi-cultural aspects in traditional disciplines. One example would be how English 101 is focused on Shakespeare most of the time—and he is indeed a great writer— but there are other great writers from different backgrounds.”
Students at a AAA meeting
“This is just one example, but it applies to other multicultural organizations who do not have as much support on campus,” Brandon continued. AAA not only hosts events themselves to engage the Sewanee student body, but also works with other organizations such as ACUSA, HOLA, The Wick, GSD and AASEAN. “I think it is great to work with other organizations to get a more diverse group that shows up to your events. It is important to know that there a commonalities with the issues that we face on campus, and by coming together we can have a bigger sphere of influence on the Sewanee community and student body.”
Some events you can thank AAA for? “Some events that we have had include Standing in Solidarity with Mizzou, March Because You Matter in collaboration with HOLA, WICK, ACUSA, AASEAN, and GSD. We also hosted a formal to raise money for domestic violence to Thistle Farms, and fundraised money before Christmas to donate to Sasha Bruce. We also just finished our 22nd annual Step Show, which was a great event.” For those that haven’t yet attended a AAA event and are looking to go, or for the regulars who are patiently waiting for the next AAA gathering, Brandon ensures that there are still some things to look forward to before the year’s end: “As of right now we are planning some more events. We will see what comes up, but we have a Senior Dinner for the members of our organization that are graduating and an end of the year cookout to celebrate a successful year of events.”
The Facebook invite for a past AAA event
If you’re looking to learn more about AAA or interested in becoming a member, contact Brandon at [email protected]— he’s more than happy to get lunch or talk about the organization with you. He also notes that AAA is an organization that accepts everyone, regardless of background. “Some students feel like they have no place in the organization because of the name, and that is not true. We appreciate different perspectives and a variety of ideas.” Want to keep a tab on AAA events? Like the Sewanee African American Alliance Facebook page.