UA BFSA & Supe Store Make History With Kente Stoles

It's graduation season, and history is being made on the campus of the University of Alabama. Kente Stoles are here!

For the first time in the history of The University of Alabama’s and The University of Alabama Black Faculty and Staff Association’s history, the Kente Stoles are being sold by the Supe Store. A Diversity, Equity, and inclusion milestone for both entities, African American students now have agency and identity in practice while purchasing their graduation regalia.

This is huge! As a graduate of a Historically Black College, kente stoles are the norm. As for many other HBCU graduates. It blew my mind to find out that the African American student population didn't have access to those stoles at the Supe Store.

I spoke with Mr. Chad L. Jackson BFSA President/ CEO BFSA Executive Board about this historic moment. He spoke on how important it is for the students to see their heritage represented in the Supe Store.

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"The importance of the symbolism of having this for our heritage along with exposure and access--- we wanted our students to go into the Supe Store and there would be symbolism of their heritage as well. Alongside all of the other representations, with the graduation regalia.”

Mr. Jackson went on to reveal the vendor that provides the stoles. They're as authentic as they come. The vendor is from Ghana, Africa. I love it! "because we made those fiduciary clearances, the UA supported us, they made sure that we were able to keep our African vendor. [Victor Annon from Ghana] who is now an official vendor of the University of Alabama."

BFSA Vice President/ Executive Board Member & Associate Professor, Social Work Dr. Cassandra Simon told me how her daughter Fallan lead the charge in getting the kente stoles created in the first place.

“I raised [both of my daughters] them to have a strong ethnic identity and Fallan---had done a lot of research, she was looking at noticing that UA was the only Southeastern Conference that didn't have a cultural center. And she also noticed that many of the other schools have a robing ceremony for their black students. And so she started doing research into it and decided that she wanted UA to have that. And so her senior year, she started working on that and you know, got in touch with people and developed the stole."

Graduation is such a huge milestone for college students. They will remember these moments for the rest of their lives. To be able to represent your heritage at graduation with a kente stole is a priceless moment.

Thursday, April 29th, 2021, at 5:00 pm, The University of Alabama Black Faculty and Staff Association will host their BFSA Spring 2021 Nyansapo Robing Ceremony at the Bryant Conference Center.

The Nyansapo Kente Robing Ceremony began in 2016 to promote retention amongst undergraduate and graduate students of color and celebrate their accomplishments. The Kente robing ceremony provides the BSFA community an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the significance of African American students graduating from The University of Alabama.

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