A group of students have formed Students Breaking Racial Boundaries (SBRB), a club striving to erase ignorance through education.
The club began in the spring of 2010 when president and co-founder Lisa Pomerantz said she and a friend saw the SUNY New Paltz campus as diverse but with little integration.
“We wanted to create an environment where people can comfortably come together and meet people of different backgrounds, discussing pressing issues and even comfortably clarify perceptions about others,” said Pomerantz.
According to the club’s mission statement, the club supports “pride in one’s own racial background, while aiming to heighten awareness for the need of unity as members of the human race.”
“We recognize that prejudice and racism only exist because of ignorance and a lack of knowledge about cultures other than one’s own,” said Pomerantz.
The club hopes to address the fact that racism is still an issue in this country.
“We want to get more people to care about it,” Pomerantz said, “because so many are apathetic and never think about it unless they are a person of color who experiences racism.”
Currently, the club is working on events that will better educate students. This semester, they hosted a large-scale event with Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Men of All Nations (MANU) on the Muslim Community Center in the city.
On Wednesday, Nov. 17, the club hosted an event called “Dating Outside the ‘Limits’” where they discussed the different aspects of interracial
“There’s interfaith dating, intercultural dating, endless possibilities,” said Pomerantz. “We want to address what it’s like to be this sort of couple.”
The event was mostly open forum while also discussing issues such as “weddings, raising kids, even in funeral practices,” Pomerantz said.
Other discussions for meetings include culture, where Pomerantz said they will soon discuss the beauty of Africa. The club has held meetings about a variety of societal and political topics, such as the Arizona immigration laws.
SBRB is also trying to work with Latin American Student Assocation.
“Even if we’re not working on projects with other clubs, we make efforts to attend their meetings,” said Pomerantz. “Networking is key in this type of activism.”
Second-year economics major and Black studies minor Jaunia M. Coombs is the Council of Organizations representative and said she got involved in SBRB because there were no clubs on campus she felt addressed the issues of racism across all ethnic backgrounds.
“Club-wise, my main goal is to have a program that draws in a large majority of New Paltz students and faculty, in which we discuss the things that separate us and what we can do to become a more united campus,” said Coombs. “I would like others to become involved by simply attending a program and bringing a friend, or two, to the next one.”
SBRB currently has seven E-board members but the amount of students in the group varies with each meeting. Their meetings are on select Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in Student Union 407. Next semester they will be more consistent with their meeting dates. Visit their Facebook page for more information.