APO uses talent to raise Breast Cancer awareness

by Raneen El-Barbarawi / Staff Reporter

 “Breast Show Ever” event in the Congress Lounge. Photo by Raneen El-Barbarawi.

The Ida B. Wells Lounge is usually filled with the color green to celebrate school spirit. But, on Oct. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m., the color pink spilled its way through the large, cafeteria-like sized room to honor National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Alpha Phi Omega, otherwise known as APO, held their annual “Breast Show Ever” event by hosting a talent show/open mic session to help raise funds for the Susan G. Komen foundation. The event sold breast cancer pins/stickers and gave a chance to win a $10 gift card to anyone who donated. 

Phylicia Richardson, 21, a senior majoring in psychology and the vice president of fellowship for APO, explained that the purpose of the event was to showcase the talent of Roosevelt students while spreading awareness about breast cancer so people could understand that there are organizations on campus geared towards fundraising important causes. 

“Social justice is a big thing at Roosevelt and breast cancer awareness is often something that isn’t known,” said Richardson. “Even though we had a whole month of it, there were no events for the month of October, so we wanted to shed light on it.”

Brooke Vanhoutte, 21, a junior majoring in psychology and the president of Alpha Phi Omega, added that this event is considered their service/charity to the community. 

The Susan G. Komen foundation was founded in Texas in 1982 and is the largest non-profit breast cancer organization in the United States. The foundation remembers the life of Susan Goodman Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36. Komen’s younger sister, Nancy Brinker, began the campaign because she believed that Susan’s death was preventable had more peolple been aware of the cancer and its treatments. 

APO members encouraging students to participate and donate to the event. Photo by Raneen El-Barbarawi.

Vanhoutte explained that her role as president is to delegate and make sure members fulfill their positions, as well as to help to thoroughly plan events. “We think it’s important that we can bring in events that students can fundraise in,” said Vanhoutte. “It’s really cool to watch people I’ve never met come out and share their talents for such a great cause because we wouldn’t have an event without these people.”

“We feel like living life is more than just yourself, but giving back to the community whenever you can,” said Vanhoutte. “It’s important to become aware of breast cancer because it can affect so many women and you might not even know if it may affect you one day.”

Curtis Grosse, 21, a senior majoring in computer science and the treasurer of APO, said his favorite part of the event is being able to “see everyone come in and perform, prepared or on the spot.” 

Grosse then explained that APO is a co-ed service fraternity that heavily focuses on serving the community, chapter, campus and community by doing things through their three key stand points: leadership, service and friendship, such as working with the South Loop Ministry to feed the homeless weekly. He stated that APO has approximately 20 members and they meet Monday nights in the Wabash building.  

Moreover, on the 25th anniversary in 2007, the organization was renamed to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure to embrace a pink ribbon (that was used in the mid 1980s and early 1990s) in hopes of  “ending breast cancer forever.” The pink ribbon symbolizes a runnerm indicating the importance of the Komen Race for the Cure event and the hope of fighting and supporting the breast cancer awareness movement. 

Khaliya Jackson, 19, a sophomore double majoring in sociology and political science, participated in the “Breast Show Ever” event last year. “I really appreciate open mics because people are able to share their crafts, their hobbies and express themselves,” stated Jackson. 

This year, she performed a spoken word piece titled “black women trauma” in response to a poem she wrote. “In this piece, I was trying to process my performance and the audience responses to it so I talked about how the audience wasn’t grasping the full magnitude of what I was saying in terms of the trauma black women face,” said Jackson, who is also vice president of RU Proud. “I was trying to process whether it was the delivery that didn’t get the message across or the message itself and through trying to understand that, I trailed on all these other topics that impacted my life as a black woman.”

“People of color are often more likely to die from breast cancer, and as a black woman myself, I find that very concerning so I feel like we should raise more money to go into research to help these people of color who are unable to advocate for themselves,” Richardson added.

“It’s cancer, it’s sudden, it’s impactful…” said Jackson. “When people are approached with it they don’t know what to do or how to deal and cope with it, so we need to talk more about this.”

Categories: News


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