Salem College speaker inspires multicultural awareness

Salem College Spanish professor Krishauna Hines-Gaither shows a painting reflective of different cultures in the Afro-Latino community during a presentation at the Reynolds High School media center. Included below are several artifacts she brought with her to show to RJR Spanish students. PHOTOS BY SOPHIE HOLLIS

By Sophie Hollis,
Staff Writer

Reynolds High School students recently were given the opportunity to explore history and Spanish beyond the textbooks with a special multicultural presentation.

Krishauna Hines-Gaither, a fifth-year Spanish professor at Salem College, brought light to the subject of minority history — specifically that of Afro-Latinos — during presentations in the media center to many of Reynolds’ Spanish classes. She emphasized that although her focus is on Afro-Latinos, multicultural lessons aren’t about targeting a specific group of people, but rather are meant to inform all kinds of people.

In one of the articles she shared with students, Hines-Gaither writes: “A misconception is that multicultural lessons are solely for the benefit of minority students. To the contrary, all students deserve a diverse education. Every student benefits from exposure to cultural diversity.”

The presentation specifically focused on the migration of African-Americans and Afro-Latinos. About 50 percent of the 12 million enslaved Africans brought to the new world were actually brought to Latin America. Although there is still diversity between Afro-Latinos, there was emphasis on the phrase “the blood that writes us is thicker than the water that divides us.”

“I thought it was an accurate reflection of the influence of African culture in Central and South America,” Spanish teacher Lundon Sims said.

Besides the parts of the presentation that focused on connections and similarities between people, many differences were highlighted as well — particularly hair. Hines-Gaither pointed out that for many people with African lineage, hair can be a rather extravagant subject. However, the presentation also covered other topics of interest such as race relations and religious blending.

“It was very informative,” sophomore Nasyr Bey said. “It gave me a new perspective of people in other cultures and societies.”

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