SOBHU regains momentum
"The idea for SOBHU is to provide an outlet on the issues of race and privilege," Publicity Chair of Students Organized for Black and Hispanic Unity (SOBHU) Cosme Del Rosario-Bell '12 said. The club's goals are to promote cultural awareness, to provide a safe space for students and to serve as a place "where people can talk," he said.
According to SOBHU?President Cynia Barnwell '11, the club provides a room where members of the Colby community can gather and "share their cultures."
For the past three semesters, SOBHU maintained an inconspicuous status on campus. While it "seems as though we have been on hiatus," the club had its reasons for its relative obscurity, Barnwell said. Last year the club's president, Michael Tamayo '10, went abroad in the spring. With both the transition to a new president and that the club was not a priority to board members, SOBHU "fell under the radar," Del Rosario-Bell said.
The April 12 incident also impeded the club's ability to focus on its own events. Last spring semester's was very hectic as club members had to dedicate time to discussing the incident with a variety of media channels and work on a Student Bill of Rights. This all "took away from the club," Barnwell said. "We had a number of SOBHU members responding to the incident and it became hard to do both."
This semester, SOBHU is looking to get the ball rolling again. "Our first step," Del Rosario-Bell said, is to unify the club members. "In order to make our presence more known and more felt we need to first get the members of the club together--working together, hanging out together, talking together and becoming familiar with one another."
At the same time, the club's members are adamant about two points. First, SOBHU is not just a room for people in the club. Second, the club is not only a group for students of African-American and Hispanic heritage or ethnicity. Everyone is welcome in SOBHU. In fact, the only way that the club will run efficiently is if others who are not part of the group's mission engage with the group's members.
"The SOBHU room is literally for people from all walks of life," Barnwell said. "The doors are always open."
"It might be daunting for students to come in," Del Rosario-Bell said. "But it's a beautiful space and we want people in the room and using its resources, including the people and conversations...SOBHU and the Pugh Center are really an extension of home."
SOBHU is looking to provide the campus with what students want and it is ready both to grow and to find new ways to make its presence felt. Over the upcoming months SOBHU is hosting a Diaspora Dinner (a potluck meal that features home cooking by students and faculty allies and is open to the entire campus), poet Stacyann Chin and an end of the year cookout. There will also be a variety of movie nights, tabling and even a pajama party in the SOBHU room.
SOBHU's board members are excited about generating a heightened sense of community their among its members and the College community, as well as contributing to a campus-wide discourse on race and cultural awareness. SOBHU is making a concerted effort this semester to put its mission into action.