Chris Lackwood, Secretary of N.A.A.C.P has created a safe space for cultural organizations to share their stories on his SoundCloud podcast channel, called BanditCast.
In the past few months, following town hall meetings with administration and protests regarding the unequal treatment of African American and Latino/a students, cultural organizations at St. John’s have been collaborating to create a new environment.
Lackwood wants students to not only meet the different e-boards, but also hear their stories regarding how they feel about the University including their cultural experiences.
“I decided…why not use [what’s been happening on campus] as an opportunity to shine light on these organizations,” Lackwood said. “It just happens that…nine organizations…have female presidents.”
For Women’s Herstory Month in March Lackwood began interviewing women in leadership positions. Two weeks ago, Sieta Leon, President of the Latin American Students Organization, was his first guest on his podcast segment called Start it UP.
Leon talks about her involvement as a President, and the changes she hopes to make.
“I want L.A.S.O to be an inclusive space for everybody…I want to emphasize the inclusivity and the fact that the Latin community is so diverse,” Leon told BanditCast.
This year, L.A.S.O formed closer relationships with organizations like Haraya and the Caribbean Students Association.
“In the past there [weren’t] close relationships between other orgs in the Pan-African Student Council,” Leon said. “I wanted to change that and I feel like I did.”
Lackwood believes it is important for e-board members to share information about their organizations. In the next few weeks he will be interviewing the President of N.A.A.C.P. and the President of the Caribbean Students Association (C.S.A.) to resume educating incoming freshman and continuing students.
“Students of color that come to this campus, who get accepted to St. John’s, usually [keep] to themselves…go to one or two events…but they don’t know the e-boards,” Lackwood said. “ It’s important that I at least bring some form of [information] to them.”