Delta Scholars & Black Student Union Showcase African Culture with Food for the Soul, Words for the Heart

Words & Photos: Alexandra Valerio

The Delta Scholars and the Black Student Union organized their sixth annual Food for the Soul, Words for the Heart event on February 21. 

It was an evening of cultural cuisine, artifacts, art, and performances celebrating Black History Month and African American culture. 

Shalonda Holt, the sponsor of the Delta Scholars, was delighted to work with the Black Student Union (BSU). Holt said that the BSU was “contributing ideas such as the artifact gallery walk and game” and “supp[lied] appetizers for the event.”

Holt also explained that the money raised from the Food for the Soul event will help with Greater Baltimore Leadership Association major event ‘Selfless Saturday in Baltimore’. The Delta Scholars use the money to make sandwiches for the homeless and they attach positive Post-It-notes messages for the homeless each month. 

Sydney Michener, the sponsor of the BSU, was excited to join Delta Scholars for the Food for the Soul event for the first time. She became involved with the event last year as one of the speakers. The BSU received support from the Student Government Association to sponsor the event. 

BSU and Delta Scholars wanted to provide different kinds of food from different areas for people to learn about and try.

BSU Officers Njeri Mbugua, Muchiri Mbugua, and Kash Awosika brought two types of pilau rice from Kenya. They also brought a Nigerian dish called jollof rice. Holt’s family cooks the main cuisine every year. The main dish consists of chicken, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, and yams. English teacher Kelli McDonough contributed homemade desserts.

Not only did the event provide cuisine, but it also featured speakers and singers. The Howard County Executive’s wife, Shani Ball, as well as Montgomery County School Social Studies Teacher of the Year, Micheal Williams, attended the event and gave speeches.

The Delta Scholars and BSU also displayed an art gallery of historic magazines/books and original artwork. Holt’s relative Doretha Smith provided old slave shackles for display.

Deja Grissom, the head of communications for Delta Scholars and BSU, contributed an original poem named ‘We Rise,’ Grissom says it illustrated “African American’s triumph in the face of adversity.” 

Senior Natalie Green has been a Delta Scholar since sophomore year and provided original artwork for the event, including a piece from Queen Nzinga.

“It is a very entertaining event that can also provide an important learning experience for someone not familiar with black history, culture, and struggles as a people in America, and around the world,” Green said. 

Michener was thrilled to bring “people of all backgrounds together to learn, celebrate and uplift African American and African culture through food, art, song, and spoken word. Seeing the richness of black culture displayed through students and families is heartwarming and a joy to be part of.”

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