Pan African Union showcases culture in its first major event

Melanie Calimlim, Staff member

To help share their mission and objectives, the Pan African Union club members hosted their first major event, An Evening with PAU, in the Hospitality Services Food Court Building on May 1st.

“I’m so excited, I’m so ready for it to be over because it’s been such a journey,” said the president of PAU Emily Ajwang, 24.

She said the main goal of the event was to emphasize Pan-Africanism. The PAU is a place for the black community to learn more about their history, to expand their opportunities, and to support each other in order to accomplish their goals.

However, regardless of race, anyone committed to the mission of the PAU is welcomed.

“It was a cultural event with the theme of black pride as the black community need more opportunities to showcase their talents and cultures,” Ajwang said.

The planning of this event began in December and it required collaboration and hard work on everyone’s part.

The PAU members pulled out all the stops, from the makeshift red carpet that welcomed everyone inside, to entertainment from a DJ, a fashion platform and delicious home-cooked food.

The event started with the women’s fashion show. The women were graceful as they walked down the stairs and across the platform. Although the outfits were alluring, the women managed to stay conservative in vibrantly colored and distinctive patterns, with the help of the highly praised Grace Ayoko, who put the ensembles together.

PAU member Anareth Luemba, 23, who was in the fashion show, hopes the club becomes better recognized. 

“It would be nice if we integrate people because I feel like not a lot of people know about it,” she said. “Going to our club, you’ll have different views about our race in general. You’ll learn a lead of different things.”

Former DVC student Samuel Ayoko, 21, supplied the men’s fashion. He said the event was a chance to expose people to African American music, food and clothes.

“Being in America, it’s a multicultural community,” he said. “So it’s a cool thing to be able to share that with other people and in a way where people can have fun no matter which culture you come from.”

Business major Tina Saadi, 19, said she loved the energy of the kickoff event.

“Everyone has been really warm and Africans in general have such a high spirit,” she said. “It’s been great to see them and all their friends coming together, expressing themselves, dancing.”

Economics major Elijah Pipersburg, 21, read a story to the audience, “What if There Were No Black People?” It told of the contributions African Americans gave to the world.

Pipersburg read, “I mean you heard I mentioned [invention of] ‘refrigerator,’ without it, you won’t be able to preserve your food. The first successful open heart surgery was performed [Daniel Hale Williams] and that was a breakthrough.”

Despite different backgrounds, everyone became more united as the night went on.

Saadi said, “They put a whole lot of effort into it. I got to meet a lot more people. If I see them now on campus, I’m comfortable enough to say hi.”