Black Student Union Plans Events to Educate, Promote Unity

Black Student Union Plans Events to Educate, Promote Unity

Kailene Nye, Editor-in-Chief

Members of the Black Student Union plan a variety of events this semester as part of the group’s goal to increase unity and understanding.

Events include a poetry reading in celebration of Black History Month Feb. 17, as well as another watch party later in the semester.

Maureen Pascal, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and one of the club’s advisors, said the group will hold a listening session in which members of the community have a chance to hear about the issues facing Black students.

The group hosted a virtual watch party of the film “Selma” Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and then a candle light vigil for peace and remembrance for those who lost their lives to racial violence Jan. 25. They also worked with the Pauly Friedman Art Gallery staff to co-host the Spoken Word Poetry Workshop  Feb. 3.

Pascal encourages the community to participate in the Black History Month events, such as the Conversations That Matter series, to educate themselves and help spread awareness of racial issues.

Our goals for the events are to keep issues related to race and racism in the forefront, by educating, celebrating and communicating,” she said.

Stacy Mccarter, junior education and special education major and BSU vice president, said another goal is to create a more unified campus.

“Our goals may change event to event. However our overall goal for our events is to bring a culture of unity, inclusion, understanding, respect, information, knowledge, promote dialogue and enjoyment. We want to have a good time and meet the needs of the students while doing so,” she said.

Mccarter is looking forward to the poetry reading. the poetry reading.

“Poetry is one of my favorite forms of art and there are so many amazing Black poets,” Mccarter said.

Pascal said she see looks forward to holding more in-person events once COVID-19 restrictions lift.

“We have talked about being more involved with students from other universities, and that would be great to do in person,” she said. “It would also be great in the future for us to be able to support our Black athletes by attending games together. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that someday soon.”

Despite the challenges, she hopes people will still show up to be part of the effort toward equity.

I hope people will gain an understanding of systemic racism and the challenges faced by Black people on a daily basis. Most importantly, I am hoping people in our community will feel inspired to work together to promote inclusion and equity—to be willing to engage in conversations and address issues our students identify,” Pascal said.

She would also love to see those who signed the Open Letter to Address Racism, which circulated during summer break, and took the Anti-Racism Pledge can demonstrate their solidarity with the BSU by attending events.

Mccarter said she wants people to become more educated on Black issues so they can be effective allies and good friends.

“I hope they will feel encouraged and motivated to become our allies and build unbreakable relationships with each other that will last beyond our college experience,” she said. “I hope they feel empowered to be a part of the change our community needs to see.”

She said she learned about how important interpersonal communication is in having a successful event.

“It takes communication with the MU community; it takes dialogue and discussion with others and it takes a smile,” Mccarter said. “So, when you see me walking your way with a smile on my face as bright as the morning sun know I’m coming with the biggest warmest welcome and invite you will ever receive.”

Pascal said she has been pleased to see how many students and staff, especially those Campus Ministry, the Art Gallery, Student Engagement, and the Mission Office, on campus are willing to help make the university a better place for everyone.

“I have been humbled by the great ideas and cooperative attitude of the group,” she said.

Mccarter welcomes all students to engage with the BSU and use their voices.

“These events are created by students, for the students, with student interest in mind and we are always available for your suggestions and feedback,” she said. “Unity is our goal and we can’t do it without you. Your presences matter to us and we work hard to insure all are welcomed.”

For a full, detailed list of events, contact Pascal at [email protected]