From left to right, Yusef Sudah, Andreé-Ashley Tarvin-Pyles, Ms. China Hudson, Big Keith Bowen, and Traci Jasper
Just under 2 years ago, Vegas was ranked 3rd in the nation for population gain. It’s no secret! We’re a growing community and we love it. The thing is, unlike more established cities such as New York or Los Angeles, we’re still in our budding stages. Culturally at least.
The African American and African communities in Vegas are prominent yet it’s hard to find our place in this city. In efforts to establish a bridge of togetherness, the Africa Love store - through Da'African Village, our sister company and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Nevada - opens its doors through a bi-monthly forum called, “Pan-African Soul Sessions.” (P.A.S.S) The focus of the forum is to build a bond between the African and African American communities in our city.
Hosted in Town Square, and coordinated by Dre’chir Whitfield, each session has one goal – uplift both Africans and African Americans through transparent conversations centered on positive dynamics and entrepreneurs in the community. The topics and panelists are intentionally selected to create an environment that allows the audience to participate in the conversation.
This Friday, May 17, the panelists (shown above) who are all active educators in the community, shared their passions for our youth with the audience. Mr. Yusef Sudah, known as a father to many and an elder in the community, passionately shared his mission to raise sons into honorable fathers.
Andreé-Ashley Tarvin Pyles, a UNLV professor, and lecturer, humbly expressed that “you must read on your own to be able to think on your own, which then allows you to behave on your own.” Ms. China, co-founder of Sisters in Society Taking Action Girls Rite of Passage Program, encouraged us to allow our children to express themselves through music and dance. Big Keith, creator of Bully Busters had a strong presence with a cool demeanor and stressed the importance of meeting our children on their level. Finally, Ms. Traci Jasper openly discussed her experience with so-called “at-risk” children, and how emotional availability plays a huge role in their success.
The audience was just as knowledgeable and experienced, and included educators and parents who were passionately involved. At the end of the night, everyone continued the conversation in Africa Love. The energy was unified, one that calls you to action.
This isn’t something you want to miss. Luckily if you missed it, you can watch it on Facebook. The next Pan-African Soul Session will be hosted in July. Mental Health will be the topic of discussion. This is something many of us have dealt with but not many of us openly speak about. Do you have any unanswered questions you’d like to ask? Any personal stories you need a safe space to share? If so, we encourage you to come and join the conversation.
Alexia B is a 24-year-old, down-to-earth, Capricorn, who is pursuing a degree in psychology at UNLV. She is also a freelance writer who has a passion for content creation.