Rahwa Meharena is an intern at All Africa Media, LLC covering the latest news pertaining to women and human rights in Africa. Her articles appear on the online news site, including an interview she conducted with the Vice-President of Malawi, Ms. Joyce H. Banda. Rahwa's current project is 'AFRICA¹S HEARTBEAT' (http://africasheartbeat.wordpress.com) a blog site geared towards discussing and exploring current issues in Africa. She covers current and classic subjects in relations with Africa through interviews, reviews, and essays drawing from her experiences and observations. Rahwa has an international relations and journalism background, with emphasis in conflict resolution and human rights in Africa.
In 2010, Rahwa wrote, filmed, and produced a documentary addressing the perceptions of female genital mutilation in Ethiopia as her thesis project. She partnered up with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNCIEF) and Minister of Women Affairs on their grassroots initiatives which focused on traditional harm practices within the Awasa region. Prior to that, she did a research presentation of African Americans in commercials at the Berkeley McNair Symposium
In 2008, Rahwa was the keynote speaker for the McNair Scholars winter banquet and commencement speaker for her graduating class at the University of Northern Colorado. She was also listed in the Denver Post's Who's Who, which recognizes outstanding young local leaders who are making a difference in the community through their involvement. Rahwa was also featured in Delta Sigma Theta - Soror of the Month.
Rahwa holds a Masters of Arts in International Relations from Hult International Business School in London and dual BA in Africana Studies and Journalism from the University of Northern Colorado. She was born in Eritrea and resides in Washington, D.C.
I graduated from UNC in 2004 with a double major in Africana Studies and Journalism. In 2006 I was accepted as a Teach for America corps member to go and teacher 2nd grade in the rural Mississippi Delta. I taught in Sunflower, MS for three years and then moved to Mexico to teach 3rd grade. I came back to the United States last year and began teaching at a charter school, Akili Academy of New Orleans, in Louisiana.
Africana Studies has allowed me to see and learn from a different point to view from that which I was taught throughout my years in K-12. I was taught to look at and understand things from a non-Eurocentric point of view. I am forever in debt to the Africana Studies program at UNC because I continue to take what I learned and apply it in my teaching. In Mississippi and New Orleans I have taught at high-poverty schools with 94 percent of students on free or reduced lunch, and where 98 percent of the students population is Black. Because of the knowledge I gained from my Africana Studies degree, throughout each school year I incorporate lessons on the true history and experience of Native Americans and African Americans in this country. I teach them about the extraordinary leaders and events that have unfolded in our history, and continue to impact the lives of white and Black Americans today.
Africana Studies opened my eyes to the truth about our country, and the incredible measures people have had to take in order to bring some justice to this country. Africana Studies taught me how to speak about race, and what it means in this country. This past year my students had the highest test scores out of all of the Recovery School District (RSD) schools of New Orleans. However, equally as important, they know the truth about the Trail of Tears, slavery, Jim Crow, Reconstruction, Harlem Renaissance, Malcolm X, W.E.B. Dubois, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Fannie Lou Hammer, and the realities of race in this county today.
The Africana Studies Program at the University of Northern Colorado afforded me a plethora of educational and professional opportunities. The challenging courses and supportive faculty prepared me for graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I completed a Masters degree in Library and Information Science at this institution in 2008. Concurrent with graduate school, I completed three internships. I worked as a curator for the National Park Service – Indiana Dunes; research fellow for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.; Digital Librarian for the City and County of Fairfax in Fairfax, VA.
A degree in Africana Studies has proven to be viable and has paved the way for several professional opportunities. I have been employed as a middle teacher, legal librarian, and digital records supervisor. I currently serve as the library director for the Del City Public Library in Oklahoma City, OK. All of these professional experiences have allowed me to utilize the leadership and human relation skills that one gains as an Africana Studies major. Moreover, graduate school matriculation and an auspicious professional future are inevitable for anyone who completes this program.