Black History Interview Series | Alafia Adeleke

Alafia Adeleke
Alafia Adeleke is a senior studying public relations at UGA. She serves on the Wesley Diversity Outreach team and is a vital voice of love and truth in our body. In this conversation, Alafia tells us about her experiences with Black History Month.

What does Black History Month mean to you?
I think it's basically a celebration of culture. Black culture. Our country’s history has never really celebrated black people, like ever, in a way that was actually good and purposeful and intentional. I feel like whenever black culture has been celebrated it’s been in a way that strips it away from us if that makes sense, or that doesn’t really acknowledge the history behind it and all that stuff so it's really important to have a month set aside to actually look at us and everything that we are and celebrate all of those things.

Black History Month is so meaningful and so significant and the reason why it's still needed is because we're still not where we need to be. I don’t think its just in the world or in America it's in the church too - it's just really important and means a lot.
 
What are some ways that you personally like to celebrate Black History?
I think the biggest is probably listening to black music and learning more about black history. For me, personally, I grew up in a very, very, very white suburban community, which obviously is fine, but just the way our curriculum is set up in Georgia public schools you don't learn those kinds of things. I feel like even now as a 22-year-old there is so much that I don't know. I feel like I get on twitter and find out new things that happened in the 40’s or 50’s every day. Yesterday I just found out about, it was really awful, it was at some college during the civil rights movement, a group of 21 black men were walking to their dorm and someone lit it on fire so it's something that is obviously a big deal and obviously more prevalent at that time than it would be now but it's still something that I didn't know about. So I would definitely say listening to music, celebrating art and stuff like that but then also kind of trying to do what I can to learn more about the history. I also really love taking the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the black people around me, whether it’s my friends, my family, or even people I don’t know on social media.

What are some ways that you would like to see Black History Month honored by ministries and institutions?
I think one, that Wesley is trying to do more of but could still grow in is incorporating more gospel music or more music not by white artists. It doesn’t even have to specifically be black artists, but diverse music, especially because there are so many different ways to worship God that are all so valuable and legitimate. I think also highlighting black leaders in ministry would be really valuable for people kind of informing everyone on things that are happening now... it doesn’t even have to be history leaders of the past it could be “what are really cool people doing right now that we can support and tell people about?” and get really excited about it.

Who famous or not would you like to honor that has had a tremendous effect on your life?
Mrs. Coe, she’s one of my dad’s best friends and has kind of been like a God mom to me without being my official God mom. My entire life she’s been so amazing and she’s a black woman that I just love and admire. You know how when you grow up you always hear people be like you need to have a trusted adult in your life even if it's not your parents? She is my trusted adult I can tell anything to without judgment. I love her.

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