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25 Feb, 2019   |   

Meet the Cast Monday: Black History Month with Shawna, Malala, & Lenard from the United States

Meet Shawna, Malala, & Lenard from the United States!

Shawna Invited Her Fellow Cast Mates to Join Her In
A Special Presentation She Created In Honor of Black History Month. 
Because Of The Great Work They Did, We Wanted To
Feature A Few Individuals Who Participated.

The Up with People cast is a diversified group of young adults from various countries all over the world who travel, volunteer, and perform as an international cast. The first event they participated in this semester was the Martin Luther King Jr. Marade in Denver, Colorado (view the video recap here!). We believe that in order for people to learn about the history and cultures of other individuals, it requires more than just reading from a book. 

Shawna, a first semester cast member from the United States, wanted to do something special for Black History Month to help educate her fellow cast mates and to start opening their mind by viewing this historical month from the perspective of a dozen or so participants in the program. 

This week, we wanted to feature three students from the United States who participated and ask them why Black History Month is significant to them specifically, but also how diversity in the Up with People program has impacted them so far.

What does Black History Month mean to you and why is it important for you specifically?

SHAWNA: To me, Black History Month means that we all can take a moment to learn more about and be reminded of the African American culture. We have the chance of sharing our history with the world and all stand together to realize that the current world issues have an affect on each of us.

MALALA: Black History Month has always been a way to create social change in the Black community. It allows the opportunity for us to celebrate each other and unite all of us across the African Diaspora. Ever since Black History Month was declared, it made it possible for the world to be aware of our accomplishments to society. 

Lenard from the United States

LENARD: Black History Month is an opportunity to share and grow the knowledge of people of color and between all people. I love taking this month as an opportunity to teach others and continue to learn myself, through artistic and academic means.

How has being involved in a program with such diversity impacted you thus far?

SHAWNA: I have always considered myself to be surrounded by a pretty diverse group, but to see people from a bunch of different countries come together for a better world really shapes my heart so much on what it truly means to love everyone.

MALALA: My perspective has already completely changed. Having the chance of meeting a person from across the world, yet still having so much in common with one another influenced the way I viewed cultural and political divides. I am really blessed to have been exposed to this early into my adult life. I know it’s something I will carry on throughout the rest of my life.

LENARD:  I feel at home when there is so much diversity. I can truly dive into the personalities of those around me and take the time to understand them.

Malala from the United States

What are you looking forward to the most this semester in Up with People?

SHAWNA: I’m looking forward to being able to be a part of something bigger than myself, as well as meeting people from all over the world. I have never had the opportunity to travel or see anything other than California, so this is a huge step to me.

MALALA: I am most looking forward to creating more life stories and learning the different cultures and consciousness of the world. I’d love to expand my mind and get use to adapting in places unfamiliar, and I believe traveling is the best way to do that.

LENARD: I am looking forward to being more intentional with my growth and encouraging other people’s hearts. As well as leadership and helping others be the best versions of themselves.


“We are many, we are one,
Brothers and sisters wherever you’re from.
We all dance to a different drum.
We are many, but we are one.”

We Are Many, We Are One © Up with People

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