Malcom X festival celebrates culture

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Photo Courtesy of CNN.com
Photo Courtesy of CNN.com

Ciara Watson
CONTRIBUTOR

This week, the University of Nebraska at Omaha will be celebrating the 14th Annual Malcolm X Festival. In connection with the black studies Department and the Malcolm X Foundation located at 3448 Evans Street, the 14th Annual Malcolm X Festival will include events and informational discussions about the African American experience. The three-day celebration is intended to be an inspirational event for the whole family.

“This is opportunity to share our history of culture, and our experience with those not of the African diaspora,” said Dr. Sharif Liwaru, president of the Malcolm X Foundation in Omaha.

Liwaru said the festival is important because black heritage and stories are unique.

“History repeats itself, and our stories of the African diaspora continues here in America,” Liwaru said. “These stories will continue to be an example of how we are to live now and in the future.”

The festival begins on Tuesday April 5 with a play at the Malcolm X Center entitled “The Meeting.” The play is expected to display authentic songs and dances in combination with spoken word. Following the play will be a short discourse by UNO Black Studies professor Dr. Nikitah Imani entitled “Malcolm X: A Native Son’s Long Invisible Shadow.”

“This is an opportunity to reflect to the African American youth, and reflect to the masses, the history so that we have a window for planning what’s next,” Liwaru said. “The topics that are presented at the academic presentations need to continue to reflect on the current issues that are important to the audience that it serves.”

On Wednesday April 6, there will be a total of eight academic presentations held at the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. The Black Lives Matter movement will be the theme for this year’s lectures.

Many of the presentations will be delivered by instructors from the UNO black studies Department. The presentation topics will range from Black Lives Matter, to HIV/ AIDS, and Black Women’s Lives Matter. The last presentation will begin at 5 p.m. with Omowale Akintunde giving a presentation entitled Black Lives Matter & Police Brutality.

Although these presentations are geared toward the Black Lives Matter movements and the Black community, they are also here to create an open dialogue of what it means be a minority in America.

“The attendees must come in with an intention to learn, and they must also have a goal mindset,” Liwaru said.

On Thursday April 7, the festival will end with an invite-only luncheon at the Thompson Alumni Center. The luncheon is expected to have many of the speakers from the academic presentations.

“The conversation that’s happening now, is that we as a people matter. By having a conference that’s reflective in which examines different ways that we matter, helps to keep our issues relevant to today’s youth,” Liwaru said.

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