What's in a Name? The MPA Becomes the APC by Steven Tejada, Dean of Diversity Initiatives
The Multicultural Parents' Association will soon be known by a new name. Starting this summer, the group will be known as the ALANA Parents Committee (APC). ALANA (African American, Latino/a, Asian American, Native American and Biracial) is an acronym that is commonly used at colleges and universities. Although the name of the group is changing, the mission will remain the same. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum and network for parents/guardians of students of color to discuss and support the unique experiences of ALANA students at Nobles.
Why the change?
1) Clarification of the group’s purpose. It was clear that the use of the words “Parents' Association” within the MPA title was causing confusion. Many questions resulted from the use of this name — Was the Multicultural Parents' Association a separate Parents' Association? Was it a subset of the PA?
Who is invited to the MPA? The group was never meant to be an offshoot of the Parents' Association or an alternative option for parents. ALL parents are members of the PA and involvement from a diverse group of parents is strongly encouraged. The PA is also encouraged to explore diversity topics as part of their agenda. The APC is a network specifically for parents and guardians of ALANA students. It provides a space where parents who share this unique experience can come together to discuss, affirm and support the experiences of their children. The group works with the Diversity Initiatives Office to support events that enhance the experience of ALANA students and also supports general diversity events that benefit the entire community.
2) Clarification of diversity language at Nobles. The term “multicultural” caused confusion and was at times being misused. “Multicultural” had morphed into another way of describing ALANA students. Multiculturalism actually involves the appreciation and promotion of many cultures. For example, our Multicultural Student Association is open to students of ALL cultures and backgrounds and is our main student diversity group on campus. Our Multicultural Fair involves the celebration of cultures and countries as varied as France, Korea and Dominica. The experience of students of color is simply one aspect of our broad multicultural and diversity programming.
3) ALANA sounds much cooler. ALANA just rolls off the tongue in such a refreshing manner. Try it out for yourself — stand in front of a mirror and say ALANA three times in a row. You will feel rejuvenated!
The truth is that diversity language (and language in general) is constantly evolving and at times is even imperfect. Even the acronym ALANA fails to list in depth the various groups that fall under the umbrella term (West Indians, Indians, Pacific Islander, Multiracial, etc.) However, I do think the term ALANA Parents' Committee provides a little more clarity and aims to be inclusive of the wide range of experiences and backgrounds of students/families of color. Be on the lookout for announcements from the APC in the near future!
Dean of Diversity Initiatives