As the Center for Multicultural Affairs celebrates its 45th Anniversary this year, it is important to acknowledge that the center has come a long way with the support of students.
"I can recall my arrival to Duke in 2001 when the CMA was just a two room space in West Union (called Intercultural Affairs back then),” said Larry Moneta, Vice President for Student Affairs, who is delighted to watch the ongoing growth of the CMA. This year, the Center added two new spaces: La Casa and the AAPI BASE (Asian American Pacific Islander Bridge for Action, Solidarity, and Education). These spaces aim to celebrate the histories, experiences and culture of these diverse communities. In addition to these spaces, the CMA hired a new Student Development Coordinator and is poised to hire another one for the upcoming academic year.
Stanley Yuan, a recent graduate of Duke, says the CMA has been a space of incredible learning and growth for many students. This is echoed by junior Vanessa Lusa, a student staff member at the CMA, who shared, “It has provided me space to learn about my own identity: what it means to be bi-racial and the privilege I have.” Yuan also shared: “I'm especially pleased by the addition of the AAPI BASE and La Casa, showing that student activism can lead to incredibly powerful changes.”
The CMA’s connection to the positive impact of student activism has deep roots. Linda Capers, Director of the CMA, and longest-serving CMA staff member, recalls: “Students often led the charge as in 1969 when they submitted to administration as one of 11 demands the need for the creation of the Center (Office of Black Affairs). Students have always been powerful partners in ensuring that their concerns are heard.”
Joanne Kang, the newest member of the CMA staff expressed that she is eager for the next 45 years of the CMA and what we can be accomplished alongside students. “The origins of the CMA,” Kang shared, “and its relationship with student activism reminds me that the work is with and for the students, and that concrete change is attainable.”
This semester the CMA’s celebration of 45 years on Duke’s campus will culminate with the Annual Unity Through Diversity program on February 22nd. The featured keynote speaker will be Kendrick Sampson who is perhaps best known as an actor on the show “How To Get Away With Murder” but who is also an outspoken social justice activist.
Moving forward, it is clear that the CMA will continue to have an important role to play. “The future of Duke and of our nation,” Larry Moneta said, “rests on understanding and supporting our intersectional students and groups and the CMA is well poised to continue to make a major contribution to that future.”
Annual Unity Through Diversity Program
Keynote: Kendrick Sampson
Wednesday, February 22nd from 5:30-7pm at Penn Pavilion