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Educating and unifying: a night with BMSA

by Kiara Alfonseca - Editor-in-Chief
Mon, Apr 17th 2017 09:40 pm
Photos courtesy of Mariam Kamagate

Brockport Muslim Student Association and Foreign Language club collaborated to host their `We are One` fashion showcase. The show emphasized the ideas of acceptance and education by learning different cultures and emphasizing the root of the Islam faith.
Photos courtesy of Mariam Kamagate Brockport Muslim Student Association and Foreign Language club collaborated to host their "We are One" fashion showcase. The show emphasized the ideas of acceptance and education by learning different cultures and emphasizing the root of the Islam faith.
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 The name "We are One" perfectly encapsulated the night of Friday, April 14, as the Brockport Muslim Student Association and the Foreign Language Club teamed up for a night of fashion, poetry and song. The crowd of different languages, backgrounds and faiths, sat excited in the Seymour College Union Gallery among the candles and lights bordering the night's runway.

The night started with Foreign Language Club president Iliana Ruiz tracking down bilingual or even trilingual audience members to declare "we are one" in their respective languages, be it Spanish, French, Chinese or Somali. The phrase was the centerpoint of the event and as Imam Idriss took the stage to teach the audience about Islam and the meaning of what being Muslim is all about, it became more evident throughout the evening that dismissing pre-event misconceptions and teaching what Islam is truly about is not only Idriss' goal, but the goal of BMSA overall.

"My goals for the show are to have people walking away feeling like they have actually learned something about another culture and they have learned something new about Islam and they leave a bit more educated than when they came," Mariam Kamagate, BMSA president, wrote in an email. "What we hope is to showcase equality, unity and an introduction to new cultures."

Outfits from Somalia, as well as West African and Asian cultural fashion walked the stage, followed by smells of rich food: rice, native Jamaican jerk and fried chicken, plantains and more flooded the room.

Highlights of the night were performances by Kamagate and William Apenteng-Boafo.

Kamagate offered the room a poem, beginning with "My name is Islam," where she educated the audience on what Islam means to her and many Muslims around the world as the fastest-growing religion. 

Apenteng-Boafo sang in hopes of inspiring those gathered to continue to support and help one another, taking the lessons from that night forward into their daily lives.

"We need each other to survive," Apenteng-Boafo said before his performance. "Whenever you're tired, there's someone there to help you."

Kamagate felt this event was an important one to expand upon goals of an inclusive environment and a diverse college population; BMSA members' goals of introducing people into their world and giving them a taste of what Islam means to them was the push behind this endeavor.

"I feel like at this college's atmosphere the words 'diversity, equality and inclusion' are thrown around like they no longer hold any weight to them," Kamagate wrote in an email. "So we want to hold up those words to their value, unfortunately we will not have a diverse group of models but we hope that other aspects of the show speak to everyone."

New and familiar faces, according to Kamagate, made up the crowd, but with the end to a successful year for BMSA — the Union's Interfaith Space, World Hijab Day, halal food (meat prepared as described by the Islamic faith) in the dining halls — they expect to see more new faces in the future.


stylus@brockport.edu