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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Sierra Leone Fundraiser for Mudslides, Hosted by ASU

On Feb. 3, the African Student Union (ASU) hosted a charity fundraiser gala for the victims of the 2017 Sierra Leone mudslides. It was a black tie function with around 60 attendees. The event featured poets, speeches, music, dancing, and slam poetry.

The gala started with the masters of ceremonies, Emeka Igbokwe and Axem Mutengu, introducing Ricki Faust, the president of the ASU. Faust explained what the ASU does and what the fundraiser was about. She stated: “What really is this event, is I guess you can say, this a fundraiser to support Sierra Leone and everything that has happened there—in the past, well this past summer which was brought to my attention about the mudslides; that made me want to do something because one of the things the ASU is very big on is not forgetting, because we are here in America, that things are still wrong back home in our mother country. So we try our best with doing things here in America, to come and support everyone back at home.” After, Faust briefly introduced Willietta Gombeh of the charity Compassion for Peace and Child Survival Sierra Leone (CPCSSL). The money raised from this event benefitted this charity.

The introductory performance of “The High Bar” by Oliver Prudent was a powerful poetry piece about identity and universal love in the world today. After Prudent, UMass Boston student Diana Blell made a speech about not only the struggles her family faced coming over to America from war-torn Sierra Leone, but love, kindness, and the importance of knowledge in such hard times. The masters of ceremonies took back the microphone and held trivia as well as a dance contest.

Later, Gombeh again took the stage. She said: “Sierra Leone embodies the human spirit, after going through the brutality of an 11 year civil war. From 1991 to 2002, the tragedy of the Ebola virus, and now the mudslide, where thousands, if not millions of lives were lost. These lives were mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, engineers, sportscasters. People that we will never get to meet. We see time and time again that the mantra, ‘still I rise’ come from the attitude of not only Sierra Leoneans but anyone faced with adversity. Tonight is not about how fierce the battle seems, nor how disheartening and tedious the road ahead may become. But tonight is the celebration of the global community, and our dedication and commitment to each other. Tonight we celebrate and recognize that although there is much to be done, we’ve made great strides to ensure a hope and a future for everyone.”

After another strong poem “Divided and Conquered” by Himanuel Vega, the final act was four different poems, “Colors,” “Tattoos,” “Trees,” and “Pride” by slam poet Anita Dias, who goes by the stage name Anita D. Dias is a professional slam poet from San Diego who has competed in multiple competitions with her team. A traditional dinner was served at the end accompanied by music and more dancing.
It was a very successful night of entertainment and information. All the proceeds will go to food, clothing, and any other relief efforts needed in Sierra Leone.  At the end of the night, a total of $600 was raised for CPCSSL.