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Student event creates intercultural connections

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Ohio State students doing the Shoki when AYL opens floor to audience at Afro-Latino Connection on Jan. 21. Credit: Janaya Greene | Lantern reporter

Ohio State students do the Shoki when AYL opened the floor to the audience at Afro-Latino Connection on Jan. 21. Credit: Janaya Greene | Lantern reporter

With hopes of fostering an intercultural connection between students of color on Ohio State’s campus, campus community members collaborated for Afro-Latino Connection, a night of food and dance to foster unity between African and Latino students, as well as those who identify as both.

The annual cross-cultural event took place on Thursday in Hale Hall, OSU’s Black Cultural Center, with the Black Student Association, African Youth League, Latino Student Association and Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Organization.

“BSA has their night that tends to conflict with LSA, AYL and other programs that divides the (minority) community here on campus. We just wanted to have a day where people come together,” said Kellen Milton, treasurer of BSA.

Kayla DeVan, a second-year in neuroscience, said she attended Afro-Latino Connection this year because she enjoyed it the previous year.

“This event is significant because it brings out people of different cultures to come together and also learn about the cultures they maybe have never seen before or that they don’t know anything about,” she said.

Lanae Plaxico, of 3D Urban Dance Team, teaching a hip hop routine at Afro-Latino Connection on Jan. 21. Janaya Greene | Lantern reporter

Lanae Plaxico, of 3D Urban Dance Team, teaching a hip hop routine at Afro-Latino Connection on Jan. 21. Janaya Greene | Lantern reporter

DeVan, who identifies as black and white, said that hearing about Latino culture from her best friend who is Puerto Rican and about African culture from another friend who is Ethiopian, also made her interested in attending Afro-Latino Connection.

“Everybody coming here thinks this is the biggest campus in the world,” Milton said. “By seeing more faces from all of our organizations, you’ll be able to see that this campus isn’t as big.”

Among the foods served were rice and bean dishes, puff puff, plantain, fried chicken, peach cobbler and more. LSA taught attendees how to dance the Merengue, AYL taught the Shoki, the Ethiopian and Eritrean Organization taught the Shegoya and OSU’s 3D Urban Dance team taught students a hip-hop dance routine.

“We want to reinforce that idea of community, which is something I think all of the orgs here try to uphold,” Milton said. “We try to make this campus as small as possible for all of our students on campus that identify as Black and Latino.”

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