With a small multicultural community in Binghamton University, a predominantly white institution, it is important for there to be safe spaces for students of color. Dedicated to the theme, “One Love,” the Caribbean Student Association, founded in 1977, strives to unite and educate students of the Caribbean and Pan-African descent about their rich and diverse culture. Their goal promotes One Love by practicing unity within the multicultural community at Binghamton University through their various events and meetings.
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Inez Williams and I am currently a fourth-year student here at Binghamton majoring in Philosophy, Politics and Law. I am the third child of five born to a Trindadian mother and a Jamaican-American father. I am from Brooklyn, New York. I am currently the President of the Caribbean Student Association, a Senior Trio Mentor for Student Support Services, the Historian/Senior Advisor for Black Dance Repertoire and a Senior Advisor for Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society. I love listening to music, taking walks on nice days, going to arts and crafts events to relax, and hanging out with my friends and family.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about helping others and making them feel included. No matter what I do I want to give people the opportunity to express themselves and be someone that they can come to for support. In the future I would like to be an immigration lawyer in order to represent the underrepresented and to stand up for their rights.
As a student leader, how important is it for students to be involved on campus?
I think it’s very important for students to be involved on campus because you have the opportunity to network, gain amazing life skills and be apart of the change you would like to see on campus. By being involved I can help create communities of inclusion that I felt I was missing when I first came to college.
What skills have you gained by being a member of this Executive Board?
By being a member of this Executive Board, two of the most valuable skills I’ve gained have been leadership and communication. I feel like I’ve grown so much as a leader by being involved and I am still growing. These are skills that have allowed me to build trust, empower those around me and establish common goals that we as an organization work together to achieve.
Why did you first join this organization?
I entered Binghamton University as a freshman in 2020. This was a difficult transition for me and I often felt isolated and alone. I saw an intern application for the Caribbean Student Association and wanting to find a community, I applied. Through interning, I found a home away from home. I wanted to join this organization to learn more about my Caribbean culture from both sides of my family who are Trinidadian on my mother’s side and Jamaican on my father’s side. I joined for the culture but the reason I stayed was far beyond that- CSA has provided me with a family and a purpose on the Binghamton campus.
How does your organization help uplift those in the multicultural community, specifically those that identify as Caribbean, Pan-African, or Afro-Latinx?
Our organization helps uplift those in the multicultural community by providing them with safe spaces to be themselves and embrace their culture. Our purpose is to enrich the Binghamton campus about Caribbean culture through education and empowerment. We host bi-weekly general body meetings, and our bigger annual events such as Carnival and Culture Night throughout the year to promote a greater understanding and awareness of the Caribbean. We also make great use of our instagram page (@csa.bing) to keep our audience engaged and educated through different posts such as our Political Tea Tuesday posts, which are posts concerning current events in the Caribbean, our Tropical Truths segment, which is a fun trivia game with the purpose of increasing Binghamton University students’ knowledge of the Caribbean, and our Cooking with Culinary segment, which shows you how to make dishes from the Caribbean, while highlighting popular spices and their importance. Everything we do serves the purpose of uplifting students of Caribbean descent and educating those who are willing to learn.