Friday, October 19

Nommo celebrates 30 years, honors community members


Angela Davis says past issues still prevalent today; Charles Wilson also recognized

By Timothy Kudo

Daily Bruin Staff

It would be easy to look at Nommo’s 30th anniversary
celebration as just an awards banquet, but it was much more than
that.

It was a call to action.

“What amazes me so much is that the questions that were
being raised then are so much more urgent now than they were 30
years ago,” said Angela Davis, one of the night’s award
recipients and a long-time Black Power activist who now teaches at
UC Santa Cruz.

“A revolution is much more needed right now,” she
added.

Nommo, UCLA’s African peoples magazine, is the oldest
African American student magazine in the nation, having been
founded in December 1969.

The newsmagazine came about at around the same time that Davis
was in the midst of being fired by the UC Board of Regents from her
position as a UCLA philosophy professor because of her membership
in the Communist Party, USA.

The event not only honored Nommo ““ a Swahili word meaning
“magic power of the word” ““ but also Davis and
former UCLA Vice Chancellor Charles Wilson for the community work
they’ve done.

In addition to the celebration, the event served as a discussion
of what the magazine has done in its history ““ discuss the
issues.

Though many consider the ’60s and ’70s to be an era
of revolution very different than today, Arvli Ward, a former Nommo
editor, who currently publishes the magazine in his role as Student
Media director, said many of the issues tackled in the past are
still prevalent.

For example, Ward noted that in the ’70s, African
Americans were dealing with problems of police brutality and
corruption, which can be seen today in the Rampart scandal, in
which LAPD police officers allegedly planted evidence on suspects.
The investigation has led to the acquittal of several people
wrongly imprisoned.

“A lot of black people felt that those were standard
police tactics and those things endure today,” Ward said.

In addition, he recollected how when he was in college, the
Supreme Court decision Bakke vs. UC Board of Regents attacked
affirmative action by abolishing the use of quotas in
admissions.

The end of affirmative action toward the end of the ’90s
reminded Ward of that earlier decision.

“In a lot of ways, things are exactly the same,”
Ward said.

The formal event was held at a packed James West Alumni Center
which was decorated with different Nommo covers adorning the
walls.

One had a picture of Ronald Reagan with a Hitler mustache, and
another had a painting of a pig in a police uniform emblazoned with
the LAPD slogan “to protect and to serve the
community.”

“From the beginning it was representative of the movements
that were going on,” said Terelle Jerricks, Nommo’s
current editor.

In her speech, Davis not only commended Nommo for the work that
it did for the African American community, but also for
herself.

“The newspaper did much more for me than I did for
it,” she said about the paper which addressed her firing.
“Nommo helped save my life.”

As she closed her speech, Davis called on the younger members of
the audience to continue the work that had been done in the last 30
years.

“I think it’s really important for the younger
generation to take that legacy and turn it into something that can
be useful today,” she said. “It’s the younger
generation that’s really going to have to show us the way
today.”

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