Afro-Carib group reborn

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By Kevin Ritchie

A group of students will revive a 40-year-old campus group after internal squabbling and a $3,000 outstanding loan forced it to break up three years ago.

On Oct. 17, RyeSAC’s board of directors approved an application to bring back the Ryerson African Caribbean Students Association.

The original group, founded in 1960, was marred by squabbling over the number of Africans and Caribbeans represented on the executive committee. RACA folded in 1998, owing RyeSAC $3,000 for a cultural fair that flopped. The new group isn’t expected to pay back the outstanding loan, said RyeSAC campus groups administrator Leatrice Spevack.

Bukola Okuribido, president of the news RACA, wants to create a sense of belonging among African and Caribbean students. The third-year business management student remembers not being able to find any student groups she wanted to join during frosh week. “It just baffled me,” she said. “There’s so many African and Caribbean students on campus.”

This year, Okuribido set up her own booth during frosh week to get the word out and to collect e-mail addresses. So far, she has more than 100 students on a mailing list.

Initially, students on the mailing list questioned Okuribido’s revival of the name RACA. “I thought it was a fitting name because I wanted it to represent African and Caribbean people alike.”

But membership will not be exclusive to students from a specific background.

Okuribido is looking forward to holding poetry readings during Black History Month in February, as well as food fairs and pub nights.

RACA secretary Judith Craig sees the group as an opportunity to unite black students from different backgrounds, foster friendships and become a base for first-year and international students.

The five executives will meet on Oct. 24 for the first official meeting.

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