"Sankofa,” meaning “to go back and get it,” is a word from the Twi language of Ghana that was used this year to represent Virginia Tech’s first black homecoming celebration. From Oct. 14 to Oct. 19, students all across campus joined together in multiple different cultural celebrations hosted by the Black Organizations Council (BOC).
“We began planning the homecoming week at the start of Summer 2019,” said Michelle Ya Diul, secretary and historian of BOC. “There were many ambitious ideas that we had for the week; however, because of how late we started planning and our limited funds, we could only do so much.”
The week consisted of a cultural showcase, “Pajama Gym Jam,” and a performance by popular artist Megan Thee Stallion at Burrus Hall on Oct. 17. The event was orchestrated by multiple different clubs and organizations including BOC, the Wahala Dance Team, the Moss Arts Center, the Black Student Alliance and the Black Caucus.
“The inspiration behind having a black homecoming was to find a way to bring the African American community together during homecoming, as it usually isn’t deemed a big (time) for most people,” Ya Diul said. “People just treat it as any ordinary week and we wanted to change that atmosphere.”
The goal of Black Homecoming was to encourage a culturally inclusive celebration on the campus of Virginia Tech. All students were given the opportunity to participate, and being the inaugural year, the BOC has high hopes for next year’s celebration as well.
“In the future, I believe that now that we have time and have done this before, we will be more prepared in knowing how much we will need in terms of funding and we hope to have some type of pageantry event as well,” Ya Diul said. “Having a first run through has definitely allowed us to see the greater potential this week can have.”
An overall goal of the week was to establish a more inclusive and culturally aware environment here on campus.
“At first there were some people who did not understand why having a black homecoming was significant to us, or why it was even necessary,” Ya Diul said. “Eventually Virginia Tech approved of us having Sankofa: The Black Homecoming, of which we are very grateful for.”