Celebrating the 30th Annual TAASU Freedom Breakfast

Alumnus Chiluba J. Musonda reflects on his experiences as an immigrant while honoring the legacy of Dr. King
Chiluba Musonda visits with attendees prior to the TAASU Freedom Breakfast

The African American Student Union (TAASU) Freedom Breakfast was created to not only commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but to promote unity and harmony within our community and celebrate the university’s values of diversity, inclusiveness and respect.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the breakfast and saw student tributes in music and dance. Alumnus Chiluba J. Musonda (B.B.A. ’09, M.P.A. ’12) spoke about his journey from Lusaka, Zambia, to Kansas City, Missouri.

Dancers perform during the TAASU Freedom Breakfast
Student dancers Ivyana Robinson, left, and Jayla Johnson perform during the TAASU Freedom Breakfast.

Musonda’s migration to the United States began with five words in a Yahoo search: mid-sized American colleges – affordable. Sifting through more than a hundred results, he applied to four universities. UMKC was the first and only university to respond.

“I am no different than any immigrant that comes to America,” says Musonda, now director of operations at Kansas City Museum and author of “Home Away from Home.” “Everyone comes seeking a ‘better life.”

He stresses that what most people fail to recognize is the bravery and emotional cost that comes with leaving your family, home and country behind.

Chiluba speaking at a podium during the TAASU Freedom Breakfast

Musonda recalled a moment in 2007 when he received a call from his sister saying that his mother was robbed at gunpoint in Zambia. He realized then that there was nothing he could do to help and the feeling of being alone in the U.S. sunk in. He cites UMKC and the people around him with helping him pull through the dark moments.

“Each one of us has a responsibility to help others,” Musonda said as he encouraged attendees to remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

TAASU students pictured with Todd Wells
Members of TAASU honored UMKC staff member Todd Wells with The Dr. Joseph Seabrooks Jr. Leadership Award. Pictured from left to right: Blessing Onwundinati, Brenda Reed, Makini Morrison, Jayesha Griffin, Brandy Williams, Todd Wells, Jarinar Robinson.
Published: Jan 24, 2020

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