African American and Latino Scholars Program Hosts Community Kwanzaa dinner

Jacob Spiegel , Business Assistant

On Monday, Dec. 21 the African American Latino Scholars Program (AALSP) held their annual potluck in celebration of Kwanzaa in the MLK room.

African American and Latino Scholars Program Director Christopher Vick began with a short introduction and a short prayer.

According to Vick, the potluck was hosted for AALSP members, their families, Mock Trial alumni and whoever else could join. The dinner provided a chance for those students to gather and meet each other.

“(The dinner) is just to bring all of the Scholar families together. All of the different crews don’t get to see each other, and this is the one time of the year outside of the closing where everybody can come together,” Vick said.

The event was also a time for scholars to spend time with African Americans in other programs, such as METCO.

Sophomore Samantha Munoz said she likes the annual event because it allows students to spend time with each other, which is normally difficult with schoolwork.

“I think this event is awesome because we are usually too busy with schoolwork to really spend time with each other, but once we get this time, especially inside the school, it’s really nice,” Munoz said.

According to Vick , Kwanzaa has a history of familial celebration within the African American community. 

“Kwanzaa started in the (1960s) by Dr. Maulana Karenga,” Vick said.  “He said we needed a holiday that wasn’t commercialized, so he made it up. It’s designed to celebrate family and community. You’re not supposed to buy anything, but give homemade gifts. It’s not supposed to be a replacement for Christmas, or Hanukkah or anything like that, it’s just an additional celebration of family and community.”

For senior Ibi Agba the event was less about celebrating Kwanzaa than acknowledging his support for the AALSP program.

“I think it’s great to spend time with your community, and the Scholars Program, because it has done so much for us. Us spending time together is kind of giving back to it, an acknowledgment that (the Scholars Program) has done good things for us,” Agba said.

Agba said that the potluck gives him a chance to talk to people whom he wouldn’t normally talk to at school.

“You get to meet people who you probably wouldn’t talk to at class, or you might not know that well in class,” Agba said.  “Everyone gets to discover something new about another person. Everyone comes together.”