OMA Continues 50th Anniversary Celebration With MLK Day Event

Kim Nucum

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) continued its year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary by hosting an event in the Campion Ballroom to honor and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This event was an opportunity for Seattle University community members to listen to current students and alumni share their experiences at Seattle U and discussed what OMA has meant to them during their time at the university.

This event allowed students and alumni to have a space to share their stories and experiences. Their testimonies honored the legacy and work of King and showed the impact of OMA on the students at Seattle U.

Director of OMA Michelle Kim is spending this milestone year reflecting on the history of OMA and its founders. Kim believes that history repeats itself, so she considers this year an opportunity to reflect upon the lessons learned from former OMA community members. In terms of moving forward in the next few years, Kim has specific projects in mind but she highlighted her hope to continue in the legacy of providing space for students to be seen and heard during their time on campus.

“The hope is to have more students engaged in the brainstorming and planning of the opportunities that we offer,” Kim said. “So if students have things that they would like to collaborate with us on, we welcome their bright ideas for social and educational experiences.”

In terms of moving forward in the next few years, Kim highlighted her hope to provide a space for students to be seen and heard during their time on campus.

Second-year Sociology major and office assistant for OMA, Nick Andino, explained some of the highlights of this event and what went into its planning.

“Having as many students come to these events as possible—especially surrounding MLK and the impact that he had on America and the fact that we are able to have an OMA 50th anniversary as well as MLK celebration is something we don’t get to do. This won’t happen again next year so the event is something I think is really big,” Andino said.

Andino is working on a project through OMA to create a space for all students of color. There are clubs and organizations on campus such as the Black Student Union and MEChA, but Andino wants to create a space for people of different backgrounds to come together and talk about issues.

Two current students and three alumni traded speaking throughout the evening in a lecture-style setting. Jasmine Henderson, the current president of the Black Student Union club, explained in her speech how the club’s mission this year is to be a support group first, and serve as an advocacy group around campus second.

The other student speaker, Sadie Lopez, reflected upon her time as a member of MEChA—a social justice organization on campus for Chicanx and Latinx students. Speaking in between the reflection of current students were alumni James Gore, Haydee Vargas and Paul Chiles. Chiles graduated with the class of 1972 and was a founder of the Black Student Union. During his speech, Chiles reflected on his positive experience at Seattle U and the support he received from the community.

“Father Fitterer was amazing and he was supportive in almost every way he could be,” Chiles said. “He allowed us to be students [primarily] and when it was time to give birth to OMA he was completely on board and frankly made it happen, so overall a very good experience.”

Each alumni that spoke addressed the importance of the organization and the positive impact OMA had on them during their time at Seattle U.

The next event OMA is hosting is a Winter Wellness Week event with discussion on the 12 principles of Black Lives Matter, and how to further get involved with the movement on Feb. 5.

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