All things Africa came to one place with The Banin Experience, a house concert for Grand Rapids Public Schools teachers and staff recently held at GRPS University, 1400 Fuller Ave. NE. The evening was presented by Motherland Cultural Connections of Grand Rapids, which aims to “bridge the cultural divide between Africans and the rest of the world.”
The event gave two dozen guests a literal taste of Africa with a three-course meal, as well as poetry, a presentation on an African country and dancing to African music. It also provided GRPS staff a better and more nuanced understanding of where their students come from, why they behave the way they do, and how to better connect and relate with them. Banin is a Lamnso word spoken in Cameroon, West Africa, which means “come together.”
Dianne Carroll Burdick has worked as a photojournalist in the West Michigan area since 1991. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she has photographed for The Grand Rapids Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Detroit Free Press, Advance Newspapers, Grand Rapids Magazine, BLUE Magazine and On-the-Town Magazine. She has been covering the many exciting and thought provoking stories of K-12 public education for School News Network since 2016.