By Alexa Rozzi
Music blasted from 202 East in the Brower Student Center on Saturday Feb. 27, as the Black Student Union (BSU) commemorated the hard work put into the celebration of Black History Month.
Members and supporters of BSU dressed to impress as students danced, read poetry, listened to guest speakers and enjoyed a meal.
The annual event not only brought together BSU’s current members, but also captured the attendance of former affiliates, illustrating the organizations close-knit and family-like nature. With members sharing the mission to promote an understanding of African-American culture, involvement in BSU empowers and unites students of all ethnic backgrounds.
“This is not just a celebration, it’s a part of us,” Valisha Edwards, junior chemistry major and coordinator of Black History Month at the College, said.
Edwards oversaw the weekly events that took place throughout February, battling snow days and working hard to ensure that the Black Student Union’s voice was heard this month.
“People got an understanding and a sense of what (our culture) means to us,” Edwards said.
This year’s message included fulfilling your destiny — leaving behind a legacy and paving a path for the next generation. Members spent months preparing for Black History Month festivities, along with a day’s worth of setting up and decorating for the Closing Ceremonies Formal.
Otasha Clark, sophomore political science major and president of BSU, reflects on the many small successes brought on by the celebration of Black History Month. From entertaining and informative performances, to networking workshops with alumnus, to the contributions of the many new freshmen members of BSU, the month was a success.
“It’s little things like that,” Clark said.
Excitement resonated through the room, as the crowd prepared for poetic expression, singing and speeches including a state of the black community speech as well as the BSU president’s own words.
“It’s about the student’s showcasing their talents,” Clark said.
She explained how this event does not only recap and commemorate the past month, but also prepares BSU to take their next steps into the future.
Students like Shavonne Flavaney, junior chemistry major, and Dania-Lee Virgo, sophomore early childhood education and sociology major, are active members in BSU. Both attended many of the events throughout the month. Virgo particularly enjoyed Black History Jeopardy, expressing a responsibility to remain informed about the past. The trivia inspired her to learn more about the history of her culture.
Virgo mentioned the involvement of students outside the black community in the events as something she feels is important in “promoting the growth of the black community, and progress as a whole.”
Flavaney appreciated the way the events represented multiple parts of African culture, capturing the diversity of the community along with its multifaceted origins.
“I think they did a good job opening up to everyone, not just the BSU community, but everyone else, but other (College) students,” she said.
Former president of BSU, Paul Harris, senior political science major, attended the Closing Ceremonies Formal. Harris was impressed with BSU’s success in the year so far. Harris points out that the BSU is an organization that “offers a safe haven for people of color who may not have an opportunity elsewhere to express themselves.”