Members of the Andover community celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Afro-Latino-American Society (Af-Lat-Am) with several festivities held over the course of this past weekend. Beginning April 27, students and alumni alike connected through an alumni-student basketball game and a formal dinner in the Snyder Center.
On campus, Af-Lat-Am is a group that provides a platform for the discussion of issues faced by Black and Latinx students on campus.
Tiffany Joseph ’00 enjoyed the “Leadership Across the Decades” panel held on Saturday, April 28, in which appointed representatives of each decade presented the evolution of Af-Lat-Am.
Joseph said, “I thought it was really important in understanding more about that legacy, how the culture on campus, the institutional culture on campus has shifted over time with different things that have happened in our society, and how Af-Lat-Am has been able to remain resilient despite different challenges at the national level but also at Andover over this 50-year history.”
Tiffany Corley ’91 was motivated to return to campus this weekend because of the impact that Af-Lat-Am has had on her growth as an adult. Corley associates the group with home and family, values that grounded her during her student years at Andover.
“Af-Lat-Am represented family and community. It was a place where you got to be yourself. For those of us who were homesick, it was like finding your chosen family and having a chance to be with them. I came back this weekend because honestly Andover is an institution and a school which changed my life and the people here shaped my life,” said Corley.
Dario Collado ’98 also returned to Andover for the weekend to commemorate the driving force that Af-Lat-Am has been in his life. Collado considers Af-Lat-Am as a motivator for him to put forth his best self.
“Af-Lat-Am was an opportunity to connect with others that had very similar backgrounds to me growing up in Lawrence, Mass. More importantly, [Af-Lat-Am was] a community that really wanted to see everyone succeed. Just to be here with like-minded individuals from different decades and different generations inspires me to continue to do the work that I do but to do it better and to continue to bring more people up,” said Collado.
Nnaemeka Egwuekwe ’91 believes that Af-Lat-Am inspires its members to be selfless leaders who cultivate compassion.
Egwuekwe said, “There are challenges that are not easy for those of other cultures to fully understand, but Af-LatAm certainly resulted in outcomes of young people staying in this great institution and taking the spirit of Non Sibi beyond the walls of Andover, into their colleges and their careers, and to the professions that they themselves are now leaders in.”
Shaun Blugh ’03 said that Af-Lat-Am reminded him the importance of community and support.
Blugh said, “Af-Lat-Am taught me a lot about giving back and doing what we can do to help brilliant, talented students of color become Andover students and take off and become the leaders they can be. And because of that, I became the first Chief Diversity Officer for the city of Boston.”