Lighting Up the Night: Afro-Caribbean Association Hosts “Light Up Jouvert”
by Hannah Langley ’21
Over the years, Providence College students have come together to create clubs and organizations that celebrate their culture and heritage in a meaningful and empowering way.
While the PC community may be more familiar with the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA) or the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), students may not know about the newly-formed Afro-Caribbean Association (ACA).
As a newly formed club, ACA wanted to showcase their heritage by holding their first event, Light Up Jouvert. This event, held Saturday, October 19, highlighted an important, fun, and unique part of the Caribbean tradition while promoting the main mission of the club.
President Lyndsy Cadet ’20, vice president Latanya Simpson ‘20, secretary Shamir Desir ‘21, and public relations representative Re’Yanda Smith ‘22 talked about how their mission for ACA is “to educate the PC community on issues and cultures of people of the Caribbean community” by creating a central community for those of Afro-Caribbean descent. They also want to open their association to the entire PC community. They hope to “continue to bridge gaps between all students,” said the executive board members.
Considering ACA is a new club at PC this year, the exec board did a lot of work to not only plan Light Up Jouvert, but also build the club. “Our experience with ACA has challenged us to build the community from the ground up,” the exec board said. “We are proud of being a new club because we are creating space to celebrate different aspects of Black.”
In planning the event, the exec board chose to use Jouvert as their inspiration. When explaining the history behind the Caribbean festival, the exec board said, “Jouvert is known as a road march infused with soca music, oil, colorful paint, and theatrical aspects at dawn that spark the beginning of Carnival.” Carnival, they explained, not only celebrates culture but Caribbean independence and their ancestors who fought for these rights.
When choosing a central theme, ACA decided to go with an all-white dress code. This decision, the exec board explained, was chosen “to highlight the various melanin shades of our campus.” They also bought lots of glow sticks “to signify shining a light on [their] history.”
Ultimately, ACA’s goal was to get an attendance of at least 200 students at the event. They achieved their goal, saying, “When we were all standing on the stage looking into the crowd, we saw all our hard work come into fruition.”
ACA hopes to continue working on promoting Afro-Caribbean heritage throughout the rest of the year by holding several more events, which they hope will be just as, if not more, successful than Light Up Jouvert.
“Our goal,” the exec board said, “is to continue bringing in consistent numbers of returning members while opening doors for new members.” They also mentioned they plan to hold fundraisers and co-sponsored events with other clubs and organizations at PC. Their ultimate goal in doing this is to create a future where the PC community can come together in order to “normalize the idea of coexisting and celebrating our cultures.”
Overall, the ACA exec board was thrilled with how Light Up Jouvert went throughout the whole process, and they are looking forward to continuing their work at PC in the years to come.