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April Newsletter



Renee Thomas

Bill Caise

Juanita Crider

Jolivette Anderson-Douoning

Lisa Sultemeier

Joan Oguwmike, Loretta Davidson, and Michael Sullivan, Staff Writers


Enjoy BCC Spring Productions Jahari & New Directional Players

Loretta Davidson, Staff

Spring semester at the Black Cultural Center means that ensemble spring productions are in full force. The remaining April productions are the Jahari Dance Troupe and the New Directional Players. These ensembles have been working diligently all year to conduct a mind blowing spring show!

Jahari’s show is “Motown and Me: Personal Reflections on the Cultural & Historical Impact of Motown.” Audiences attending this show will find themselves drifting back to the early days of Motown music and travel through time to a more contemporary Motown sound. The show is directed and choreographed by Kevin Iega Jeff and Josh Ishmon of Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre.

The New Directional Players, under the directions of Artist-In-Residence, Kecha Nickson, will be performing Unfinished Women Cry in No Man’s Land While a Bird Dies in a Gilded Cage by Aishah Rahman.

This play chronicles two stories set in the 1950s. Sarah Muhammad, NDP student coordinator, describes the plot of the play this way, “the first story involves the happenings of several pregnant girls inside a hide-a-wee home, which is a home for unwed mothers because during this time it was definitely frowned upon to be a pregnant unwed girl so they would have their babies in the home and give them up for adoption or abort them and then they would return to their lives.” The play highlights the challenges and obstacles faced by these unwed mothers as they face with the consequences of their decisions regarding their babies. The second story involves the late jazz musician Charlie Parker and his European mistress. Parker deals with the hardships of a struggling, drug-addicted musician. The stories connect through Parker’s music and the theme of life and legacy carried through birth and music.

Unfinished Women Cry in No Man’s Land While a Bird Dies in a Gilded Cage is Friday and Saturday, April 12 & 13 at the Black Cultural Center at 7 p.m. There is no cost for NDP’s production.

Jahari’s show, “We Are One,” is Saturday, April 20th at 7 p.m. in Loeb Playhouse, Stewart Center. Tickets are $7 general public/$5 students.

Bloom Into Spring Semester at the BCC....

From the director's desk:
Renee Thomas

This has been an amazing semester! BCC staff members have participated in a series of community engagement meetings with the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra, the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette and Jefferson High School, just to name a few. They have facilitated discussions after film screenings of The Great Debaters and Black Purdue, coordinated details for the presentations by Dr. Reiland Rabaka, Haki Madihubuti, Melissa Harris Perry, organized book discussions by Purdue faculty, launched a national search for the BCC librarian. BCC staff are spearheading a workshop series for participants in the STEM Academic Boot Camp and also establishing a Study Abroad tour to Ghana with the African American Studies and Research Center during Maymester. The staff’s calendar is packed! Students and community groups continue to call and come in at a steady pace to reserve the facility for their meetings, prospective student athletes and visiting admitted students stop in with their parents for educational tours of the BCC during their official visits to campus.

The activities described are a glimpse of the many occurrences at the BCC before 5 p.m. After normal business hours, the center is bustling with student activity. When you enter the BCC on in the evening, the melodic sounds of the Black Voices of Inspiration will tickle your ears, perhaps you will observe the choreography of well renowned artist from Deeply Rooted Dance Theater instructing the Jahari Dance Troupe, the New Directional Players are rehearsing their lines for a professional level drama production and the Haraka Writers are critiquing each other’s poetry. In addition to the artistic vibe of the BCC you will understand the BCC is committed to academic excellence when you observe members of the Black Thought Collective making final preparations for their scholarly presentations, Purdue students conducting research in the BCC library or working on class assignments in the computer lab.

The BCC is a vibrant cultural institution at Purdue. We pride ourselves in presenting programs that honor and educate students about African American culture and heritage in a positive manner. The BCC affords students chances to expand their intellectual horizons in a fun yet stimulating manner. The aim of the BCC ensembles is to present bold, cutting edge, culturally relevant and meaningful artistic performances to a community of learners. Please support us throughout the month of April by attending one of our many interesting and relevant programs.

Dr. David Satcher Visits Purdue

Michael Sullivan, Staff

Dr. David Satcher

Dr. David Satcher
U. S. Surgeon General

On Tuesday, March 5th, students wearing heavy coats and backpacks shuffl ed into Loeb Playhouse with notebooks prepared to take notes. Groups of non-students in business attire grabbed seats closer to the front. The chatter of the well packed lower level of Loeb Playhouse faded with the house lights. The dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, Christine M. Ladisch, and the head of the Department of Nutrition Science, Connie M. Weaver, first stood under the spotlight to present Dr. David Satcher.

David Satcher’s list of titles and achievements filled over five minutes of speech time by the presenters. Among his long list of titles and achievements, he held the position of Surgeon General, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health. During his time as the surgeon general, Dr. Satcher made significant changes and pushed many important issues.

As surgeon general, Dr. Satcher was the first to release a mental health report. He also released several more reports and press releases about mental health issues as surgeon general. Through his actions Dr. Satcher helped remove barriers to accessing mental health care. In addition to improvements in mental health, he also brought attention to the rising obesity crisis in the United States. Dr. Satcher helped popularize the phrase “obesity epidemic.” The media focused more on obesity when it was referred to as an “epidemic.” He also recommended that children should get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.

Dr. Satcher also made significant strides to eliminate racial and ethnic disparity in the United States. In 2000, Dr. Satcher released Healthy People 2010. In addition to increasing the years and quality of life for people, the press release also had the goal of eliminating the racial and ethnic disparities in health care. The disparities between white and black health care present themselves in statistics. The black infant mortality rate more than doubles the white infant mortality rate in the U.S. According to Healthy People 2010, 83,500 fewer black American citizens would have died in 2000 if someone had eliminated the disparities in public health. Studies also show that the rate of mortality is directly related to socioeconomic status. For example, if the neighborhood someone lives in is too dangerous to even go out on the porch, the environment will discourage the person from going for a jog. This health care inequality extends past the national level and into a global perspective. Dr. Satcher noted the overwhelming disparities between African nations and developed nations. In order to combat these disparities, Dr. Satcher calls on leaders that “care enough, know enough, will do enough, and are persistent enough.”

Dr. Satcher identifies four main steps in using the “Public Health Approach.” First, you define the health problem. Then, you determine the cause or risk factors for that problem. After that, you determine what works to prevent or ameliorate the health problem. Finally, you determine how to replicate the working strategy more broadly. Dr. Satcher suggested that strong leaders are needed to carry out this plan.

Dr. Satcher identified three main characteristics in a good leader. Every good leader needs ethics in order to do well, especially in the health care systems. Without integrity, a leader cannot emerge. He also encouraged leaders to treat everyone with respect no matter what their status. And finally, a leader needs to take responsibility for the community. Dr. Satcher also noted that great leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln, are born out of crisis. At the end of his speech, Dr. Satcher opened up his lecture to questions and answers, his favorite part.


Each spring we give graduating BCC employees and ensemble members an opportunity to refl ect and share feelings about their time at Purdue University. Read and enjoy!

Latoya Hobbs

Student Curator, Student Receptionist, Jahari,
M.F.A., Studio Art: Printmaking

Latoya Hobbs

“My time at Purdue has been amazing! I have grown in all areas of my life and have accomplished a lot of great things. I cannot imagine how my experience at Purdue would have been without the Black Cultural Center! I LOVE THE BCC!! I often joke with Ms. Jollivette about my first week here at Purdue.
When I walked into the BCC and heard the sound of Black women laughing, (Ms. Juanita and Jolivette) I knew I was at home. Because of the BCC I have experienced things that I never would have expected. I have worked with some of the most beautiful and talented people from across the globe through the BCC’s ensembles and programming and have made some wonderful friends and “extended” family members. The BCC will always have a special place in my heart. After graduation I will continue to make artwork that inspires and uplifts others and reflects my cultural identity. Additionally, I have accepted a teaching position in the Foundations Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD that begins this Fall."

Chelsea Frazier

Night Manager,
M.A. American Studies,(disciplinary focus English and Women’s Studies)
Minneapolis, MN

Chelsea Frazier

“Purdue is big. And its bigness has allowed me enough room to carve out my individual goals and articulate my passions while also encouraging me to rely on communities like the BCC in order to survive and thrive. The challenges I have encountered here have fortified me in ways I could have never imagined; for that I am incredibly grateful.”

After graduation Chelsea will be entering the PhD program in African American Studies at Northwestern University in the fall.

Chantalle Brown

Student Archivist & Receptionist,
History & Religious Studies
Fowler, IN

Chantalle Brown

“My journey at Purdue has been a long and rich one. I’ve had the opportunity to study abroad, gain friends and sisters for life, and pursue the beginnings of my (hopefully) future career in museum studies. The BCC has been instrumental in my experiences at Purdue. My job as a student receptionist and head student archivist has allowed me to interact with Purdue alumni, students, faculty and staff from across schools and majors. The high point of this was presenting the archival project at the ABCC Conference. I honestly cannot imagine what my student career would look like without all the opportunities that I have been presented. After graduation, I plan on continuing to work on the archival project at the BCC and try to spread the project to other cultural centers on campus.”

Danielle Briggs

BVOI Student Coordinator,
Public Health Promotion (Concentration Health & Fitness)
Indianapolis, IN

Danielle Briggs

“The BCC has allowed me to find an escape while matriculating through Purdue. It’s allowed me to meet very monumental people from the past, and learn about our future leaders to come. Mostly, it’s provided me with a home away from home and a family that takes me as I am.

Danielle is currently sending out resumes to a variety of companies and hopes to attend graduate school in the future in the field of Public health or law.

Camille Applewhite

Landscape Architecture

Camille Applewhite

“I have been a part of the Jahari Dance troupe for 4 years. The BCC has become a safe haven for me. I’ve never felt uncomfortable there and it has been a place to recreate with my fellow dancers. I have been honored to have danced with the Jahari Dance Troupe for 8 semesters now and have always been honored to be a part of the Performing Arts Ensembles family at the BCC. As a student, dancing has allowed me to act on my love for this art as well as make some lasting relationships. I plan on working for a landscape architecture firm, public or private, and to become a registered landscape architect.”

Diamond Johnson


Diamond Johnson

“I joined the BCC in fall of 2010 as a part of the Haraka writers ensemble. Over the past 3 years, the BCC has introduced me to my own culture and history. It has given me an opportunity to learn beyond what they teach about African Americans and our culture in a traditional classroom. Haraka has made me a better writer and given me confidence in my talent and work. The BCC has given me a home away from home and family that constantly supports my growth and professional and personal development. As a biology major, I don’t have a lot of time to focus on my creative and artistic side. The BCC has given me an opportunity to embrace my creativity. After college I will join the Teach For America 2013 corps and will be teaching middle school General Science in Kansas City, Missouri. The BCC has made me more aware of the importance in knowledge of culture and history that I will teach my students and foster their growth as Black individuals.”

Breeanna Walker

Jahari Student Coordinator,
Sales & Marketing
South Bend, IN

Breeanna Walker

“I started working at the BCC in August 2011. I have been working there for two years now. After graduation I will be working for the Whirlpool Corporation as a Sales Representative. The BCC gave me an outlet to express myself, and a second family to help me adjust to life in college. The BCC also gave me the opportunity to be a leader and a mentor to others.”

Shaniqua Burden

Communication and Political Science, Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Gary, IN

Shaniqua Burden

“The BCC was a place of familiar faces & welcoming hearts. They were in fact family. I’m proud to say I was a student at Purdue University & have enjoyed the time spent there. I have learned a wide array of things. The staff that I have encountered has been excellent & passionate about what they do. The students have been enjoyable to be around. Boiler Up!”

After graduation Shaniqua plans to work for two years and return to school to further her education.

Christian Davis

Jahari & student receptionist,
Animal Sciences

Christian Davis

“I have been working at the BCC as a Receptionist/ Archivist since Spring Semester of 2013. My major is Animal Sciences and I plan on working for the San Diego Zoo after I graduate from Purdue. The Black Cultural Center has affected my college career because it has provided me a place where faculty and staff serve as a second family and home where faith, love, and encouragement can be received from many people. Working here and being a part of the Jahari Dance Troupe has taught me stronger discipline and has pushed me to stay grounded while also staying true to who I am.”

Joan Ogwumike

Newsletter writer,
Mass Communication & Political Science
Chicago, IL

Joan Ogwumike

“My four years at Purdue have been a learning experience. I have been through the good and bad, while learning so much about myself. In addition, I have grown so much and I can only thank the school and the people I have met for my transformation. I would like to give a special thanks to the staff at the BCC because they have always been genuine, open, and so helpful. These are such helpful people that certainly try to make you feel welcome at Purdue while teaching you so much about your culture in different ways. I truly appreciate them.”

After graduation Joan will be attending graduate school majoring in Public Policy.

Lauren Oliver

Jahari & NDP,
Sales & Marketing
Gary, IN

Lauren Oliver

“I was in Jahari Dance Troupe my freshman year and I participated in New Directional Players for the next 3 years. The BCC has not only helped me get in touch with my culture, race and ethnicity but also has provided me with a family. When I walk into the BCC and see everybody, I know they are my family. They push me to work harder and give me the encouragement I need to succeed. Never pursue a degree for someone else, but always do it for you and your dreams. Because at the end of the day you are the one that has to live this life.”

Lauren is planning on attending law school after graduation. She has taken the LSATs, applied to schools and is now waiting for responses.

The BCC also congratulates the following...

Nick Pulliam
Amadin Osagiede
Asia Thomas

We wish all graduates success in all of their future endeavors!


Hats off to Latoya Hobbs, M.F.A. candidate in Visual and Performing Arts, was awarded the Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Award in the Department of Art and Design.

Congratulations to Sandra F. San Miguel, Purdue Veterinary Medicine associate dean for engagement and Kauline Cipriani Davis, the college’s director of diversity initiatives; who are coeditors of the new book, Navigating Diversity and Inclusion in Veterinary Medicine. The book is published by Purdue University Press.

Congratulations to Dr. Venetria Patton and the African American Studies Research Center which received the Sankore Institutional Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Development of the Discipline of Africana Studies at the 37th Annual National Council of Black Studies Conference in Indianapolis.

Applause to Lisa Young, PhD student in American Studies and BCC night manager, who received the Berenice A. Carroll Feminism, Peace and Social Justice Award and also received Honorable Mention in the Outstanding Interdisciplinary Project Award.