When Kavin Haldo was a freshman, they were very excited to get involved on campus. As a queer person of color (QPOC), Haldo was looking for clubs that catered to their interests but was disappointed to see there weren’t many options catered to other QPOC. Clubs like this had existed in the past under the Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution (SJICR,) but low attendance rates eventually caused some of them to fizzle out. This lack of clubs didn’t deter Haldo but rather encouraged action. Now a senior, they met with the Manager of SCIJR, Dominique Pierson to get the ball rolling to revive these clubs once again.
“She [Pierson] kind of influenced me in a way where she was like, if this is something that you want established again, you can be part of the creation of the club and that’s where we started,” said Haldo.
Serving as President, Haldo created Shades of Unified Love (SOUL), an advocacy group and safe space for all QPOC at Rowan. Bringing on sophomore Erwin Wambi as the vice president, both are working to create a positive environment that encourages self-love, acceptance, and fosters meaningful discussions about race and sexuality.
“This club is a safe space for all queer students to share their stories about their mixed identity of being a person of color as well as being queer,” said Wambi. “SOUL is a place that’s going to be home.”
Collaborating with SJICR as well as other clubs on campus, SOUL will aim to be a place for not only QPOC to have their voices heard, but also allies of the community as well. Acting as a welcoming place for all, Pierson and SOUL’s executive board are also committed to participating in meaningful charity work.
“As a woman of color myself, I know the impact community has had on shaping my identity. It is vital we are intentional about the spaces we create so all students have access and feel empowered to find and shape their communities of support and love,” said Pierson.
SOUL’s first meeting will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 14 in Hawthorn Hall Room 214 at 6 p.m. With the club being so new, both Haldo and Wambi are eager to get started growing the club’s influence on campus and making SOUL a household name for students.
“I’m really, really excited for SOUL,” said Haldo. “SOUL is a great addition to the already growing Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) organizations that we have on campus, and it’s amazing just for us [SOUL] to grow and for our communities of color to be more comfortable with a conceptualized version of being queer too.”
For more information and updates about SOUL, follow them on Instagram @soulatrowan.