Photo by Glory Attaochu
Student Sedrick Lewis peers into coffin and says good bye to the “N” word.
Funeral lays to rest the use of derogatory terms
By Jessica Mellet
A funeral service laid the “N” word and other derogatory terms to rest Sept. 20 in the UC.
The mood was very somber with about 200 people listening intently to find out what this was all about.
In late September 2006 six teenagers who are now more commonly known as the Jena Six were accused of beating a white classmate and later charged with attempted murder.
This all started after two African American students sat beneath a “whites only” tree in Jena, La. and the following day nooses were hung from the tree, which prompted more African American students to protest and sit under the same tree as well.
The Office of Multicultural and Minorities Affairs took a step for change and put on a funeral service for all UNCP students to attend and acknowledge that racism needs to stop.
“Today is a day we will do our best to lay these words to rest,” said Robert Canida, director of Multicultural and Minority Affairs, as he spoke to UNCP students and guests about the effects of hate words and derogatory terms used very commonly in today’s society.
In front of the stage in the UC stood a wooden casket that guests were encouraged to view.
In this casket lay a full length mirror with writing on the outside that read: “Are you the reason for the spreading of derogatory words?”
Rev. Jerry Stephens, president of Robeson County NAACP, led the audience in prayer and explained how “God only made one type of person and that’s human being.”
Voices of Serenity gospel choir moved many in the crowd to tears when they sang “Angels Cry.”
Naly Yang, president of the Asian Student Association, told her story of coming to UNCP to learn more about diversity, but what she found was a great deal of hate towards her race. Yang said now she is glad that this has happened because she has now learned to forgive others.
“Thank you to those who have hurt me in that past and those who will hurt me in the future because I cannot wait to forgive you,” said Yang as she ended her moving story.
According to U.S. News and World Report, UNCP is among the nation’s most diverse.
Enrico Warren, senior, said, “This program united people of all ethnic groups to come together for the same cause.”
The Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs of UNCP strives to provide programs and services that support the academic mission of the university by enhancing the educational, personal, cultural and social development of diverse and ethnic minority student populations.