Students and community members enjoyed free food and crafted to the beat of Bob Marley’s island jams last Saturday afternoon at the annual Bob Marley Expo hosted by the Student Organization for Caribbean Awareness (SOCA).

This year’s theme of “One Love” was inspired by the country’s current socio-political climate and meant to honor the life of Bob Marley as an artist and an activist, said senior and SOCA President Elizana Joseph.

Attendees partook in activities such as coloring, beading, and face painting. Freshman Vincent Escovedo, who had a lightning bolt painted on his face, praised the unifying nature of the event.

“Events like this show that however the outside world is, it doesn’t faze this community,” said Escovedo.

Adding to the harmony of the event were performances by the YellowJackets, PASApella, and freshman Miles Perry from “No Disclaimers,” a spoken word committee.

Perry recited a poem he wrote, comparing humanity’s treatment of black women to its treatment of Earth. He explained that his poem was written to raise awareness and spread unity on campus.

“We tend to talk more about political things,” Perry said. “We want to try and remedy them to try and make a more unified campus.” PASApella, an a cappella group under the leadership of the Black Students’ Union, closed the Expo with a performance of two traditional African songs, one of which was mashed-up with Bob Marley’s “One Love.”

“You don’t have to understand different languages,” junior and PASApella member Ntemena Kapula said about  the song choice. “You can connect people through the tone of a song. An open space like this allows people to fuel our happy vibe and set aside their worries for a little bit.”

During the event, attendees had the opportunity to sign a pledge on what the song’s creed meant to them. Senior Edwin Aguila, who came to the expo to emphasize the need for peaceful unity, felt his pledge carried a powerful message.

“I put ‘one love means unity,’” Aguila said. “I feel like it is a term everyone can use to say ‘I love you.’ One love.”

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