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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Club Spotlight: African Caribbean Club and Black Student Union collaboration

By Laurel Messenger

Life presents itself with many challenges and one of these can be discovering one’s identity.

There are two clubs at Western ready to help those in the community who are trying to discover their niche, or wanting to embrace the identity they have already formed.

Discovering one’s identity can raise questions. African Caribbean Club has been trying to help their community answer these questions since 1997.

The African Caribbean Club and Black Student Union put on their Black History Month Celebration on Feb. 23. The two clubs often work together to host events.

Both clubs aim to create an accepting and safe environment for students of color and for those who want to learn more about the different cultures. Many of the members are involved with both clubs.

The African Caribbean Club and the Black Student Union used to be one club known as the African-American Alliance until it split into separate clubs a few years ago.

Jana Obune, Chandra Lim, Shaneen Walter-Edwards, Fatuma Hussein, D’Ghon Culpepper, all of ACC Board members. // Photo courtesy of Patricia Anyango

“As long as I’ve been here, we’ve always collaborated because we just share so much in common,” said Abdul-Malik Ford, the Black Student Union president.

African Caribbean Club Vice President Fatuma Musa, who is also involved in the Black Student Union, explained how the collaboration enhances the club participants experience.

“We get to express the commonalities but also point out those differences that make us unique,” Musa said.

During the event, a slide show was presented to inform attendees about the origins of the clubs.

After learning the history of the clubs, the other half of the event involved competitive singing. Members challenged each other to see who could better perform songs like “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira and “Despacito” by Justin Bieber. While both clubs enjoy playing games and having fun, they also help the community deal with tough subjects such as identity and community.

Black History Month Celebration Feb. 23. // Photo by Laurel Messenger

Anyone trying to discover their identity or wanting to learn more about the African Caribbean Culture is welcome, club president Shaneen Walter-Edwards said.

“Our club is about educating students, faculty and community members about the African and Caribbean cultures,” Walter-Edwards said. “Being in a predominately white institution, it’s a space for us to be around people who share the same background and teach others to embrace it while negating any misconceptions others may have.”

The Black History Month Celebration was freshman Lexi Wilkinson’s first African Caribbean Club meeting. She said has recently been trying to discover her cultural identity since her dad is African American. Growing up, he wasn’t around to help her see that side of her identity.

“I have been questioning my ethnic identity and what it is I considered that to be. So I figured, you know, I might as well come out,” Wilkinson said. “It wasn’t until I talked to my counselor about it who said to me, not acknowledging that part of myself — it’s like

Michaela Budde & Abdul-Malik Ford; part of BSU board. Michaela Budde & Abdul-Malik Ford; part of BSU board

I’m fragmented.”

African Caribbean Club meets at 6 p.m. every Wednesday in Miller 131 and Black Student Union meets at 6 p.m. every Thursday in Miller 038.

“The club is about the unity of people who are so different and yet so are united in something that makes you so true to who they are,” Musa said.



Every Tuesday this quarter, a Western Front reporter will shed light on clubs on campus. If you would like your club to be featured, email rahwahaile.westernfront@gmail.com


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