by Christie Reed
Standing in a crowd of more than one million black men was one man from ULV who felt the cause was worth the flight to Washington, D.C.
Ivan Tircuit, a 24-year-old junior religion and philosophy major, feels the role of African-Americans in society needs to be expanded, and attending the Million Man March on Oct. 16 was just one way that he showed his support for what he called “the collective effort of black people to change the community for the better.”
Tircuit has spent his entire life, from the time he was a boy, trying to better the black community. Forced to take on an incredible role at a young age, Tircuit began to instill the “desire to learn” into his younger brothers and sisters.
Tircuit was born and raised for the first 10 years of his life in Los Angeles, but has spent his most recent years in Pomona, where he still lives. In his neighborhoods, Tircuit was able to witness some of the oppression and poverty that plagued many of the residents. He wanted to make sure that his siblings were raised right by both himself and his mother.
“We grew up in a single parent family, raised by my mother,” said Tircuit, eldest of eight siblings. “I worked tirelessly to be a father to my younger siblings and I reached out to their friends, too.”
Tircuit’s mother never brought up the idea of college after high school. According to him, college was for some people and not for others. He fell into the category of others.
“College was something for the people you never saw in high school because they were at home studying,” said Tircuit.
After being recruited by Mt. San Antonio College for his skills in football, Tircuit decided college was for him after all. Only 60 units and several semesters into Mt. SAC, he decided to look elsewhere and concluded that the University of La Verne was a reasonable choice.
“My girlfriend at the time, Asia Roberts, went here,” said Tircuit. “I was familiar and comfortable with the campus and it was also close to home.”
An excellent matriculation contract with Mt. SAC also enabled him to transfer to ULV with the majority of his units.
Tircuit has enjoyed his ULV experience and has also gotten involved on the campus. This year, Tircuit holds the office of president for the Afrikan-American Student Alliance [AASA], which has been his major contribution to ULV and the only position he has ever had in an on-campus organization.
“I gave assistance to B.S.A. [the Black Student Association] at Mt. SAC, but I didn’t hold any office,” said Tircuit.
His move to ULV was also the start of Tircuit’s community activism. He became more aware of the social conditions that plague African-Americans and wanted to get involved in an organization that really made a difference. This organization was the Nation of Islam.
“I concluded that the Nation of Islam was the most progressive black organization today in the world. They had the farthest reaching vision and the most effective solution to the problem that is ailing the whole world,” said Tircuit.
Tircuit has also continually worked to better himself since he joined the Nation in 1992.
“We work to acquire economic strength, political strength and develop black youth. We work to train black youth in the same way we train ourselves—to think about these issues at a young age,” said Tircuit.
As a member of the Nation, Tircuit has toured high schools as a part of a rap group called “Positive Sin.” They performed in front of Black Student Unions and entire high school populations.
“Our main purpose was to get a record deal, but this was also a part of our work,” said Tircuit. “We wanted to educate youth and provide that insight that we lacked as high school students.”
He feels the organization has already made a difference in the black community.
“Young men ages 18 to 21 are a lot further now than I was at that age,” said Tircuit.
Most importantly, education has become a priority in many black families.
According to Tircuit, “A lot of black families have realized the importance of education. Even though parents didn’t go [to college], they encourage their kids to go to college.”
Tircuit’s aspirations do not end at ULV or with the Nation of Islam. He plans to attend law school and become a successful lawyer. He is unsure which law school he wants to attend, but prefers one that offers a dual degree in law and religion/philosophy.
“I also want to build a school system that will educate black youth, kindergarten through college, and will teach skills of nation-building,” said Tircuit. “The curriculum will include spiritual, physical, historical, emotional, political, economic and cultural training.”
Tircuit also desires a family in the near future, but he is still focused on his advanced education and the development of black society, the cause for which he has fought his entire life.
“We, as black people, don’t have a system for ourselves that trains our youth to run a society,” said Tircuit. “We’re very good consumers and contributors, but we don’t have the mentality to be rulers—at the highest levels of government in the world.”