Just before the New England Patriots took on the Los Angeles Rams at Super Bowl LIII, students at Georgia State University were filling seats at the school’s Speakers Auditorium to listen to a group of powerful and successful athletes speak. The discussion was part of the Caribbean American Cultural Arts Foundation’s, “I AM” University Panel Series on Friday, February 1st, 2019. Students were welcomed with Caribbean dancers, live music, Caribbean cuisine, drinks and lively discussions. Panelists and speakers included, WNBA Champion & Author, Simone Edwards, Former WNBA Player, Rushia Brown, Former NFL Player & Actor, Sergio Joachim, Democratic Presidential Candidate & Former College Football Coach, Robby Wells, and the conversation was moderated by General Manager of Telemundo Atlanta, Ivan Shammas.
The event is part of the ongoing vision of the Caribbean American Cultural Arts Foundation (CACAF) which is dedicated to disaster relief and assistance, Caribbean cultural awareness and educational mentorship. CACAF Founder, Michael Thomas said, “Through the “I AM” University Panel Series, We want students to say to themselves, I AM…Me, I AM…Somebody, and I AM Great!” The idea is to provide young people access to professional relationships as they prepare to make their mark on the world. Thomas said, “We work hard to provide unique opportunities for students and to connect them with successful cultural mentors.” For Thomas, that means putting students in the path of those who could open doors or guide them on their journey. Former WNBA Player, Rushia Brown, who delivered the keynote message told students that even though the odds were stacked against her, as a young athlete, all she needed was a shot, “I believed I was good enough. I just needed an opportunity.” That’s exactly what the “I AM” University Panel Series is all about; supporting the next generation of innovators, leaders and global change agents by giving them a shot.