December 20, 2013
Stefan Bradley

S.A.A.S. Hosts Pre-Kwanzaa, Mandela Memorial Event

The Society of African American Studies honored the life of the noted civil rights leader and reflected on link between the seven principles of Kwanzaa and mental health in the African American community.

Members of the Society of African American Studies along with students from SLU and surrounding universities.
Members of the Society of African American Studies pose with students from other universities at the Pre-Kwanzaa and Mandela Memorial. Submitted photo

The Society of African American Studies (S.A.A.S.) hosted its pre-Kwanzaa celebration and Mandela Memorial on Dec. 13 in collaboration with the St. Louis Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi). 

S.A.A.S. leaders Briana Moody and Marissa Price provided the audience with a touching acknowledgement to the late South African president and freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela. Following the tribute, SAAS member Leslie Hartje-Dunn provided a brief overview of Kwanzaa.

In spite of weather concerns, the nearly 30 students, faculty, staff and psychologists from ABPsi participated in a celebration that focused on linking the seven principles of Kwanzaa to mental health issues in the African-American community. Saint Louis University alumna Marva Robinson, Ph.D., and Jameca Falconer, Ph.D., provided valuable insight into the social stigma associated with mental illness in the black community.

"It was nice to take a break from studying for finals to remember Nelson Mandela and to commemorate Kwanzaa alongside fellow members of the SLU community," said Marissa Price, SAAS member.

Additionally, members of SLU's African American Male Scholars (AAMS) Initiative, students from the African American Studies Program and students from universities had the opportunity to join in fellowship with one another, as well network with professional psychologists from ABPsi.

Stay tuned for SAAS's upcoming events in spring 2014. Contact SAAS president Briana Moody at for more information about the organization. To find out more about ABPsi, contact Robinson at

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