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Celebrating cultures the Wright way

Culture and Identity Center | Photo by Cheyenne Waddell | The Wright State Guardian

Culture and Identity Center | Photo by Cheyenne Waddell | The Wright State Guardian

The Culture and Identity Center at Wright State University holds many different celebrations of heritage and culture throughout the academic year.  

“We have to play around with the dates a little bit. Having programs when students aren’t in classes won’t have the audience,” said Mia Honaker, interim associate director of Latinx, Asian and Native American Affairs (LANA). 

Events to plan for:

Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month.  

Asian-Pacific Islander Month falls at the end of March through the first half of April. Nationally, it is celebrated in May, but classes are not in session at that time.  

Women’s History Month is also in March and Minority Health Month is in April. 

Black History Month is in February and Coming Out Month is in October.  

There is an overlap in celebrations, but the center makes a point to dedicate attention to each celebration of identity individually. 

LANA is currently celebrating Native American Heritage Month in the month of November.  

According to LANA’s flyer, there have been several different workshops and discussions to bring awareness to different cultural aspects of Native American heritage. 

Mia Honaker has been with WSU since 2005 and has recently taken on a leadership role for the center as interim director. 

“We have very knowledgeable faculty in the fields that we actually highlight,” said Honaker. “We have local talent, so we don’t have to outreach to other schools and spend thousands of dollars bringing in big-name speakers when we have knowledgeable faculty. It also helps us connect to our faculty,” said Honaker. 

Bolinga a center to ‘advocate and support’

Chris Hogan is the interim associate director of Bolinga Black Cultural Resource Center. 

Bolinga has been on campus for 49 years, since Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Jan. 15, 1971, according to WSU’s webpage.  

The Bolinga Center celebrates African culture as well as supporting other cultural identities year-round. 

“The purpose of the Bolinga Center has two focuses: advocate and support all students with African background and educate students about the center. It’s a welcoming place for everyone,” said Hogan.  

According to Hogan, there are seven days of Kwanzaa; each day has a different principle that it highlights.

These principles have been translated from Swahili.

The first is unity (umoja), day two is self-determination (kujichagulia), the third day is collective work and responsibility (ujamma), next is the purpose (nia), then creativity (kuumba) and the final day, faith (imani). 

On Nov. 24, Residence Life and Housing hosted a cultural workshop in which Bolinga provided more information on Kwanzaa.  

“The purpose of our centers is to help these different cultures interact. It’s one thing to have a diverse population and it’s another to have them interact and share that diversity,” said Hogan. “It’s a great way as a leader to lead by example.”