WKU’s national champion forensics team will present “As We Make History: A Black History Performance Symposium” on Feb. 24 in celebration of Black History Month.
The presentation will include student-written speeches as well as interpretive performances of published poetry and drama.
Haddy Badjie, a senior from Lewisville, Texas, and organizer of the symposium, said the event will engage, entertain, educate and empower participants.
“What better way to honor Black History Month than to use our craft to visually and vocally illustrate how we are making history today when speaking on black history?” Badjie said. “The better educated you are of others’ experiences, the better ally and advocate you can be to make the world a better place.”
Sophomore Lyric Davis of Blue Springs, Missouri, will be performing an original persuasive speech about redesigning curriculum standards in high schools.
“I’m from a predominantly white high school, and every year I only learned about blacks during February,” Davis said.
She said she believes the federal school curriculum is not inclusive to all minorities. Davis said she wrote her speech after researching this problem and hopes it will motivate listeners to work towards possible solutions.
Andrea Ambam, a freshman from Peculiar, Missouri, will also give a speech. Ambam said she wanted to choose a subject that meant a lot to her and decided to discuss African immigration.
“I searched for a topic that I didn’t think many people knew about,” Ambam said.
She said she went through several drafts with her coaches until they produced a piece that was ready for the first competition.
Ganer Newman, the director of WKU Forensics, said public performances such as Wednesday’s symposium will help prepare students for two upcoming national tournaments of the American Forensics Association and the National Forensics Association.
WKU’s team won both of these championships last year and hopes to defend the title. Each of Wednesday’s pieces will be included as a competition piece for nationals.
Newman added that the symposium is an opportunity for the program’s African- American students to give performances that address issues and speak to their lived experiences.
“Students at WKU should attend this performance because not only will it be incredibly entertaining, but it will also be incredibly eye-opening,” Ambam said.
Badjie said forensics is the reason she’s at WKU and that it has helped her grow as a person and as an advocate to resolve problems in the community.
Davis said everything the team does is from the heart and guaranteed that anyone who attends the symposium will be entertained and might learn something new at the same time.
“Forensics is a powerful tool for individuals from underrepresented groups to express themselves and move us all to act,” Newman said. “Believe me when I say this event will shake you to your core.”
The symposium will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Downing Student Union Auditorium on Feb. 24. Admission is free.