Student group emphasizes black pride

The Student Alliance for Cultural Development is more than raised fists and black power.

The SACD, established at the university in 1981, has a mission to develop an understanding and appreciation of African culture, facilitate the African cultural development of students at the university and impart a sense of African identity and cultural solidarity.

This organization seeks “to increase the level of consciousness and awareness of African culture,” said Ayinde Madzimoyo, the current president of SACD. “We highlight issues that pertain to black people,” said Madzimoyo, 20, a junior psychology student from Atlanta.

Jamaal McKnight, a member of the SACD, said he feels the group teaches information not available in a traditional education.

“The SACD offers FAMU students an opportunity to receive information and participate in lively discussions about important issues that affect the black community from an ‘our people first’ perspective,” said McKnight, 21, a senior psychology student from Tampa.

Providing and participating in workshops highlighting the importance of African culture makes the SACD not only informational, but also a sounding board.

“So much of what has been taught is anti-black,” Madzimoyo said. “We try to provide a forum for discussion that stimulates discussion, thought and growth.

Among the numerous workshops that the SACD has conducted a highlight for Madzimoyo was a workshop that featured Marimba Ani, a scholar who focuses on African culture and life.

“The workshop was practical and it gave us lessons on how we could apply the aesthetics of African culture to our everyday lives so we can change our reality,” Madzimoyo said. “That was an honor to have her bless us with her presence.”

The SACD also takes road trips to gain information for their mission. The group recently traveled to Fort Valley State to attend a workshop that featured Asa Hilliard, a scholar who focuses on psychology and ancient khemetic history.

“The lecture focused on khemetic history and elaborated on how Egyptians were the first mathematicians and scientists, and how we can tie ancient khemetic traditions to our present lives,” Madzimoyo said.

Students feel the SACD’s presence is needed on campus.

“Not everybody came from a predominantly black high school,” said Staci Morrison, 18, a freshman secondary education student from Fort Lauderdale. “What white people taught you is one thing. Black people have a different perspective.”

Derius Jackson agrees.

“Everyone needs to know about their heritage and where they came from,” said Jackson, 18, a freshman biology/pre-med student from Orlando.

Madizomoyo said that students who participate in the organization can “expect to learn about our history-African culture. They will be a part of a family and community that values growth and development. Students can expect to have a shift in their understanding in themselves, the world and their relationship with it.”

The SACD has meetings and workshops every Friday at 6 p.m. in GEC-C room 301-A.