New Caribbean Alliance student organization hopes to raise cultural awareness

Olivia Williams

The Student Organization of Caribbean Alliance (SOCA) held their first meeting in Oscar Ritchie hall Wednesday. 

SOCA‘s goal is to encourage awareness of the diversity of Caribbean cultures and traditions. It hopes to unite Caribbean students, as well as others, who share an interest in the Caribbean.

The organization was started by Kareem Rogers, a junior aviation management major. Rogers said when he first came to Kent State, there were no organizations for people who were similar to him.

“I came from the Caribbean straight to Kent State University and it was hard to get adjusted at first,” Rogers said. “I wanted to meet people and have conversations with people whose background is similar to mine.”

Amy-Rose Forbes-Erickson, a Pan-African studies assistant professor, serves as one of the faculty advisors for the organization. Forbes-Erickson was born in Jamaica and said she intends to help and support the students with whatever they would like to achieve with the organization.

“Having had the experience of being a Caribbean student in the U.S., it was not really hard to want to participate in this organization,” Forbes-Erickson said. “I want to contribute in any way to help offer support to the students here at Kent State.”

Students who attended the meeting represented different parts of the Caribbean. Around the room, students voluntarily stood and shared where they were from. Although a lot of the people who attended the meeting were not born in the Caribbean, they had some type of connection.

Vice President Janelle Hamilton, who also has a Caribbean background, spoke about what students can expect when they attend SOCA’s meetings and what topics they will discuss. The organization plans to educate and introduce members to the Caribbean culture and clear up any stereotypes about the people.

“A lot of students such as myself have Caribbean backgrounds and grew up around that culture our entire lives, and coming to Kent we want to have something that we’re used to,” Hamilton said. “I think it is good to be around people who have the same interests as you and who can relate to you on a different level.”

Olivia Williams is the African-American student life reporter, contact her at [email protected].