New group aims to offer support for students of color


Photo via Kenzie Hirt

Senior Elijah Kasuba has created the POC Association, so people of color have the opportunity to share their stories and experiences.

Kenzie Hirt and Alisha Katel

Senior Elijah Kasuba has faced racism from a young age.

It was more often than not that these racist remarks were said in a joking way, he said, but Kasuba and many of his friends found they were more affected by these “jokes” than what was intended. 

To help students deal with these issues, Kasuba has started the POC Association, a new student group. It started as a joking idea among Kasuba and his friends, but it has grown into a real organization where people of color can share their experiences regarding their race. 

Kasuba said he never felt like he had a place where he could communicate the struggles he faces. One goal he wants to achieve with the group is “creating a safe space for POC students to come in and express the things that they’re dealing with,” Kasuba said. 

Kasuba said he could not have done this on his own, so he sought help from his friends and gifted teacher Daniel Shaner.

“My friends have really been the driving force to help me do this and have kind of been holding each other’s hands throughout the process,” Kasuba said. 

Kasuba has always trusted Shaner, and he knew that Shaner would help because “when it comes to things like racism and prejudice of others, he’s not one to stand idly by and is willing to talk and educate about it the best he can,” Kasuba said.

I think it could be something that educates and brings people closer together.”

— Mwango Kasuba

Shaner knows that life is challenging for many people and he wants to use his privileges to help those who are not as lucky as him. 

“There are too many students here and everywhere in America, even when their voice is heard, nobody’s really listening to them,” Shaner said. “It’s important that someone does give them the agency to make a change in this world.”

Junior Brooklyn Williams believes that it’s important to have a safe space for people of color, especially in a predominantly White area.

“I feel like my identity as a Black woman is something I’ve always wanted to share with others,” Williams said.

Kasuba’s younger brother, sophomore Mwango Kasuba, is another member of the group, and he feels it is necessary to increase awareness and educate the community about issues of race and diversity. 

“I think it could be something that educates and brings people closer together,” Mwango Kasuba said. “It’s something I feel like everyone should try to join.”

Elijah Kasuba says the POC Association is open to everyone. 

“Though it may be a safe space for POC students to come in and talk about their experiences – whether that be with racism, microaggressions, prejudice, etc., – it would be a good thing if non-POC students and others came down to listen and learn from what we’re talking about,” Kasuba said. 

The first meeting was held on Wednesday and about 20 people were in attendance. They established rules, future plans, and goals for the members. As of now, two guest speakers are planning on talking to the group.

“Overall the first meeting went pretty well,” Kasuba said.

The next meeting will be held at 2 p.m. March 9 in the Think Tank.