Afro-Caribbean Club plans for a new year

Tammy Tran

In 2008, Jasmine Peters-McClashie ’11 and Kwest-Ann Samuels ’11 aspired to make Lawrence University a more cultured and diverse community. Together, they had the idea of forming the Afro-Caribbean club – an avenue for students of African and Caribbean descent to preserve and share their cultural identity and heritage.
Commonly known as ACC, the Afro-Caribbean Club began with 20 members when it started in spring 2008.
“Our first event was called ‘Through our Eyes,'” stated Peters-McClashie, the current president of ACC. “We talked about the countries we were from and our perspectives of them in spite of the stereotypes and ideas that many people have of African and Caribbean countries. We invited staff, faculty and students and it was really helpful as an introduction of ACC to campus.”
Today, the Afro-Caribbean club consists of over 40 members. These members are from countries including Nigeria, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Ghana, Liberia, Haiti and more. Some are also from America, with an interest in Afro-Caribbean culture or with parents of Afro-Caribbean decent. Needless to say, a large amount of diversity is evident in ACC – and that’s exactly what the club strives to share with the Lawrence community.
“ACC is open to everybody, not just African-Caribbean students. Students should experience being in the club as a vehicle to understanding people of different African descent,” stated Peters-McClashie. “We try to provide programming that emphasizes the differences in Afro-Caribbean countries and showcases different things about our culture that we think make where we’re from interesting.”
Programming by ACC has included campus parties exclusively featuring Reggae, Soca, Dancehall and Calypso music, karaoke events and active fundraising for Haiti.
“It seems like after that hysteria died down and the media stopped talking about it, everybody stopped paying attention to the fact that people in Haiti were still suffering,” noted Peters-McClashie. “ACC continues to raise money for a charity called Hope For Haiti.” Last week, an ACC bake sale raised $400 for Haiti.
Future events from the Afro-Caribbean Club will include collaboration with the Diversity Center for Black History Month as well as the first dance of Winter Term Feb. 25. The dance will be called “Tropical Temptations,” and all members of the Lawrence community are welcome.
Additionally, Tropical Prod-uctions Company will be coming to ACC’s Pan Afro-Caribbean Fest with some lessons on African drumming Friday, Jan. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Esch Studio. All are welcome!
Meetings of the Afro Caribbean Club are every Tuesday in the WCC Kraemer room.
When asked what she wishes more Lawrentians knew about ACC, Peters-McClashie said, “Knowing that culturally there is a difference. Just like people will differentiate between Germans and Russians and people from Asia, they also need to understand that within people of African descent, there are differences. ACC is all about familiarity and finding a place at Lawrence where people share the same culture, experiences and ideology as you.