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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

This Friday, party for charity

At 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30, Loose Lounge will be transformed into an elegant charity event of a new Grinnellian breed. The African Caribbean Student Union (ACSU), in conjunction with the Student Organization of Latinas/os (SOL), is sponsoring “Blackout”, a party to raise funds for the Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC) based in Jamaica.

The party was inspired by an increased awareness of social justice efforts among the group’s members. This year the ACSU, led by President Alicia Afrah-Boateng ’12, intends to work towards becoming leaders of the social justice movement on campus.

“Now that I am running the group, we’re trying to expand [social justice] efforts,” Afrah-Boateng said. “So, we thought it was a win-win situation with a dance party where people can have fun and enjoy themselves, but also raise money for a good cause.”

In choosing an organization to which to send the party’s proceeds, the ASCU went with one with close ties to the group’s leadership. Nikki Sewell ’12, Vice President of ACSU and native of Jamaica, interned with WROC this past summer.

“One of the reasons we picked [WROC] is that we felt as though the options that we had for others weren’t as connected to someone we know or didn’t have a connection to the College,” Afrah-Boateng said.

The organization works in several areas of women’s rights in Jamaica.

“Basically, what they do is try to improve the lives of those living around [Jamaica,] the section that we will be sending the money to is to their education center,” Sewell said. “It helps children from very poor communities and it provides a place where they can get extra classes and support. They work a lot on literacy, because literacy in that area is very poor.”

While interning, Sewell worked in a community center aimed at keeping children away from drug violence and abusive families. Sewell has worked hard to share her experience and promote the cause among her peers.

“I brought WROC to Grinnell because [the organization] changed my life. Those children have such passion, I have never seen that kind of passion before and I really enjoyed working with them,” Sewell said. “When I left, I almost cried because I had seen such [a] change in them.”

This event is just one way for Sewell, Afrah-Boateng, and the rest of ACSU to engage the campus in their efforts. The group has many further plans for the rest of the year.

“We have been talking for a while as using our group not only as a place where students of African and Caribbean descent can commune,” Afrah-Boateng said, “but also involve the larger community and give people who might not have direct connection to Africa the opportunity to engage in African culture or wrestle with the political and economic issues facing Africa right now.”

Open to the entire campus, the ticket price for Blackout is $4 ahead of time and $5 at the door, with all proceeds going directly to WROC. After midnight, students can enter for free.

“With this organization, I know the work that they do and I can vouch for them that the money goes to where they say it is going,” Sewell said.

Refreshments will be served, and a lax dress code is set in place.

“Dress to impress and wear your evening’s best or wear black in solidarity,” said Afrah-Boateng.

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