Students from Cass Tech and Renaissance had an amazing opportunity to attend the African Diaspora Youth Conference (ADYC) at the University of Windsor, which included tours of various Underground Railroad sites within Essex and Kent Counties of Ontario Canada. The theme was “Shosholoza, (K)nowhere: Create your own story. ”
Shosholoza (Sho Sho Loza) means to go forward, which suggests encouragement and advancement. (Shosholoza is an Ndebele folk song that originated in Zimbabwe but was popularized in South Africa.)
Students were busy every minute from sunrise to sunset from Thursday May 10 to Saturday May 12, 2012. Their activities included a visit to The John Freeman Walls’ Underground Railroad Museum, Buxton National Historic Site and North American Black Historical Museum.
Some highlights included seeing a false bottom buggy like those used to transport fugitive slaves, touring the historic walkway and visiting the Walls family cemetery.
They also saw the Sandwich Street First Baptist Church, the oldest black church in Canada that was built in 1840. And they engaged in Windsor sight-seeing. The Keynote Speaker for the conference was Brenda Lawrence, Mayor, City of Southfield. Ms. Lawrence was elected Mayor of the City of Southfield in November of 2001. She is the first African American and first woman mayor of Southfield, a city with a population of over 78,000 residents, a city budget of $143 million, and 833 city employees.
Students also participated in skits, presentations, small group discussions, workshops and more.
Said Renaissance High Counselor Dora Hudson:
“The 2012 African Diaspora Youth Conference was a wonderful and exciting trip where DPS students were afforded the opportunity to explore their African American/Canadian History while visiting the University of Windsor and several historical African settlements, museums and sites. The sites visited this year were: The John Freeman Walls Historic Site & Underground Railroad Museum, Sandwich First Baptist Church (the oldest active black church in Canada), and The Buxton National Historic Site & Museum.
The conference was a meeting of the minds for students of African descent to compare and contrast their life experiences with other African students from other countries. DPS students not only spoke well but they truly represented the pride and progress of being a DPS student and a citizen of the United States.
The 2012 African Diaspora Youth Conference was an amazing event, which raised the awareness and consciousness about past and present issues surrounding our youth of African descent such as: graduating from high school, college and career preparation, peer pressure, socio-economics, violence, drugs and African related global issues. DPS students were highly engaged in the presentations, activities and workshops. The students performed and illustrated their similar experiences through dialogue, skits, poetry, and song. The chaperones included one counselor and one parent; both were from Renaissance High School. The chaperones stated that they were extremely proud of how well all the students participated and behaved; however, they were especially proud of how well the DPS students represented their school district, city, and country. The students were very excited when returning from the University of Windsor and said they look forward to attending the conference next year. “