Ignatius Pasi Musaindapo
Student Outreach Coordinator
North Park University
Why Black History is important to you?
This time serves as a reminder that American history includes the presence and participation of other ethnic groups. Their part in the narrative of this nation’s formation should never be understated, forgotten, or misinterpreted. This time also is an opportunity to refresh generations of African Americans in the richness of their heritage, while encouraging African Americans to pursue greater accomplishments that will contribute to the next chapter of America’s multiracial story.
Who is someone in black history that has inspired you? Why?
I admire Reverend William J. Seymour. He was the pastor of the church that changed the course of Church history. While training as a minister in Texas, he was not allowed to sit in the same class as his fellow white seminarians. He had to sit at the door for most of his classes. He moved to California around 1905 and in 1906 a revival broke out in the church he pastored on Azusa Street. His teachings during that revival, shaped almost everything we now call Pentecostalism. Some regard him as “the father of Pentecostalism.” For just over a century, many have studied the events of the Azusa Street Revival as the gold standard for spiritual awakening and church growth. This church attracted people of all races and economic demographics, and garnered accolades from every corner of the globe. Reverend Seymour rejected all notions that women could not be in ministry, which at that time that was labeled as heresy. Yes, a black man set the world on fire with the Holy Spirit. The flames of revival came from a small church in Los Angeles, California. From the time I was 18, Rev. Seymour has inspired me to have courage in the face of adamant, systemic resistance. Even when some of the resistance is within my own heart, I remember his story and press on to start another fire for Christ. His story helped me understand how I could use negative life events for the good of many.
How have you been a positive influence on the African American community?
For 7 years, I served as a youth pastor to African American adolescents in the Austin community on the West side of Chicago. I spent a lot of time with these awesome young people encouraging them to invade the world with faith, outstanding integrity, and creativity. Some have just graduated from college, others joined the military, and others are still trying to find their place. In all honesty, they have had more of an impact on me than I on them. From them, I learned to have fun and the value of friendship. We served the community together, I served them as a youth Pastor, and they served me as friends.
Currently, I work to establish relationships with students of all races through our work in the Career Development & Internship Office. With African American students we also count it an honor to encourage them and advise them on a career path will bring the world closer to Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream. That all people would be measured by the, “content of their character and not the color of their skin.”