Breaking Boundaries

The X Factor

This past few semesters have been an incredible journey for X, the club formerly known as Brothers of a New Direction (BOND). BOND was initially centered around supporting young Black men and teaching others about the issues that young Black men face. In the last year-and-a-half, X, with the help of the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Global Education, has shifted its direction. X now focuses on community service and social justice, while continuing the critical work of educating others about the Black community and Black culture in general.

The political climate of the United States is very racially charged. X sees this as an opportunity to reach out to the Le Moyne campus community. We hope to continue creating events that bring new perspectives to the student body and encourage all members of the Le Moyne family to step out of their comfort zones. Over the past school year, X has focused a lot on community service, donating backpacks and school supplies to four middle schools across Syracuse. We also hope to encourage others to reach out to those in need and lend a helping hand. After all, social justice and community service are a large part of our identity as a Jesuit college, and our goal is to carry that into the world around us.

by Kennedy Cole ’21 and Anthony Rosario ’21

Musical Tradition

As director of education and public programs for the National Museum of African American Music, one of my many roles is creating culturally specific programs and curricula for students of all ages. Growing up, my access to arts education was limited to non-existent. This is why I am so passionate about creating opportunities and pathways for young people to experience and discover their love for the arts.

As I reflect on our mission to educate the world, I’m not surprised that our most popular program serves my favorite demographic, young people! From Nothing to Something (FN2S) is a program for students in grades K-8 that explores the musical innovations early African Americans created by memory and with limited resources.

FN2S includes seven units: Spoons, Harmonica, Lyrics, Cigar Box Guitar, Banjo, Rhythm and Drums, and Wash Tub Bass. In each artist-led workshop, students receive instruments to play and keep. Music history and techniques are explored, and children learn how each instrument influenced the development of different musical genres. Seeing little faces light up that were once expressionless, hearing little voices speak with confidence, and knowing that I help to play a role in sparking discovery and exploration is the reason I love
what I do.

Tamar Smithers earned a master’s degree in arts administration from Le Moyne in 2018.

Writing: The Omnitool

I remember saying in an essay once that writing felt to me like a sort of omnitool. Of course, you can’t literally accomplish all things with writing, but I find despite that reality, the possibilities that come with writing are endless. I like to focus on fiction and poetry. I’ve written a handful of poems, a few short stories, and am currently working on a pretty big fictional project. It’s through practice with these genres that writing has proven itself to me to have seemingly boundless creative potential. Pick up a pen, seat yourself in front of a computer, grab a stick and find a body of soft mud, and you gain all the means needed to give physical form to raw, fleeting emotions; create complex and compelling individuals; or build entire worlds. For someone else to read. So that they can feel what you feel and see what you see. Or even better, interpret those sights and feelings in their own original way.

Kanaan Yaoda ’23 is an English major with a concentration in literature from Manhattan whose plans for the future include authorship and work in the publishing industry.