Bishop Shelton J. Fabre’s Address Caps African American History Month at Nicholls

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THIBODAUX — Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux addressed a gathering of Nicholls State University faculty, staff and students on Wednesday, Feb. 26, as part of the university’s annual African American History Month celebration.

Fabre’s talk, “African Americans: Ongoing Strengths and Engendered Hopes,” centered on the historic roles gospel music, the church and community played in the African American experience. Carrying the theme of community to present day, he spoke on the importance of making an effort to share our personal and communal stories with other people.

“We can always find those who focus on our differences,” Fabre said. “In fact, we all share far more in common in our values, hopes and aspirations.”

The bishop also noted the contemporary danger we face in technology-based “person-less encounters.” Our increasing lack of face-to-face interactions makes it more difficult to share stories and learn about each other, he said. Computer-based interactions such email, social media and automated customer-service ultimately have an isolating, dehumanizing effect. Everyone should be sensitive to this phenomenon and make an effort to seek out social encounters, he said.

Fabre challenged the students to reach out to other campus communities as part of their intellectual growth and development.

Members of Nicholls’ Student Programming Association (SPA) served on the planning committee and organized the lecture. Nicholls student Olabisi Akingbola opened the lecture by introducing the bishop. A Nigerian national, Akingbola is a senior in the nursing program and serves on the Student Government Association (SGA) as a justice for the Student Supreme Court.

CUTLINE: (L-R): Nicholls State University students Olabisi Akingbola, Brandon Bergeron, Joshua Fabre, Staci Weiland and Rusty Bruce pose with Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux Bishop Shelton J. Fabre (Center). Akingbola, a Nicholls Student Government Association (SGA) Supreme Court justice, introduced Bishop Shelton J. Fabre. Bergeron, Joshua Fabre and Weiland serve as officers with the Nicholls Student Programming Association (SPA). Bruce is president of the SPA.

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