Cultural clubs team up for first-ever Unity Week

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Occidental’s first Unity Week kicked off Monday with a cultural club mixer hosted by the Black Student Alliance (BSA). The weeklong event brings together cultural clubs from across campus to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism.

Unity Week was developed by BSA president Samarah Jackson (senior) and e-board members of other cultural groups on campus. Organizers originally called the program Solidarity Summit Series, but changed the name to Unity Week to honor the themes of unity, excellence and pride they want the week to reflect.

“In the past, cultural clubs have done a lot of things separately, so what BSA wanted to do was get all cultural clubs together to show that, although our experiences are different, we should be working together,” BSA external affairs chair Diamond Webb (junior) said.

Students got a taste for the week’s upcoming events at BSA’s mixer on Monday. The Intercultural Community Center hosted the mixer, where students had the chance to meet various cultural club leaders.

On Tuesday, La Raza Coalition (LRC) provided details on the key propositions in the California midterm election in hopes of raising awareness among potential voters. LRC also co-hosted the Solidarity Summit Series: Fetishization vs. Appreciation on Tuesday with BSA and Asian Pacific Americans for Liberation (APAL) to find and discuss topics prevalent in other cultural groups.

Club leaders who helped plan the event expressed a desire to promote a heightened sense of community, as well as a greater appreciation for other cultures.

“Unity Week will be a great way to become involved in fun-filled learning activities that will enrich your knowledge of both the great clubs on campus and the messages we strive to teach,” Las Hermanas Aliadas President Jennifer Vasquez (junior) said. “Unity Week offers a variety of cultural events focused on diverse topics that offer a lens into a part of the rich worlds we represent.”

Today, Las Hermanas Aliadas and Los Compadres will sponsor two events. They will bring dancers to perform and give lessons in the Quad at lunch time. Later tonight, there will be a movie screening of “Bajo la Misma Luna,” followed by a short discussion about immigration and youth.

Beauty Beyond Color (BBC) will host Thursday’s first event. During a quad sit at lunch, BBC plans to ask men what beauty is to them and ask women what obstacles they face in society at large.

Also on Thursday will be a Women of Color in Leadership panel run by Sigma Lambda Gamma (Gamma), partnered with BBC, BSA and APAL. The panel will include five women of color, who are professionals in different sectors, speaking on how they define themselves as leaders. The discussion will also address how the panel members learned to navigate professional spaces as women of color.

Gamma president Nancy Valdez (senior) believes that this panel will cover an issue rarely addressed on campus.

“There are lots of career-oriented discussions, but not many showcase women of color,” Valdez said. “It will show a different perspective and reach a broader audience.”

On Saturday, there will be a Bengal Bus trip to Plaza Olvera, located in Downtown Los Angeles. Unity Week will culminate that night with “The Drop” dance in the Quad starting at 10 p.m.