BSU celebrates Black History Month

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Article by: Angela Bray

The Black Student Union (BSU) serves as student support for both personal and academic experiences at Suffolk University. Members are aided with the adjustment to college life and are encouraged to increase cross-cultural communication. BSU hosts annual events such as Black History Month and African Diaspora (last semester’s theme was Evolution of Hip-Hop); other social and educational events to promote awareness of African descent include speakers, movie nights, and meals.

“We have over 300 active members, and we are the biggest organization on campus,” said Roosevelt Lewis, a senior and the BSU Communications Coordinator. “We know most of our members because we are really involved.”

“The President of BSU, Jessica Ross, was in one of my classes and introduced me to the organization,” said Suffolk sophomore Caroline Lauture. “I liked what I learned about the organization and decided to be more than just a member, but an active member by running for the Executive Board position.” Lauture is now the BSU Public Relations Executive.

BSU has been hosting events all month in celebration of Black History Month (February 2-27). The Black Heritage Trail and Lunch with the Black Studies Program has already occurred, along with a screening of Spike Lee’s School Daze (40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks,1988). Last Tuesday, an event called “Recession Proof,” featuring guest speaker Bakari Kitwana, an author, activist, journalist, and political analyst, was hosted by BSU, the Office of Diversity Services and Sawyer Business School Academics Committee. Kitwana’s lecture, “Young Americans in the new Economy,” covered the global economy and recent recession.

“There has been a great turnout for the big events, and the smaller events are a little bit more intimate,” said Suffolk junior Jessica Ross, BSU President. A few weeks ago, A Taste for Haiti succeeded with over 100 people in attendance. As far as Black History Month events, the movie had a turnoutof 20, as did Kitwana’s lecture. “There were 75 people at the Opening Ceremony, which was a pretty big deal,” said Ross.

This Thursday, BSU will be hosting the Annual Soul Food Luncheon in Donahue 403 from 1:00-2:15 p.m. “The Soul Food Luncheon is an annual event we have held for quite some time,” said Lewis. Last year’s luncheon had a turnout of 250 people. This year’s theme is “A Backyard Barbecue.”

Soul food is “down-home, southern-style, from areas such as South Carolina and Georgia; it started during slavery, as they took what they had and made meals form it,” said Lewis. “It is homemade, ‘good grandmother’ food that brings everyone together.” One of the traditional meals is called “chitterlings,” which includes rice, corn bread, fried chicken, and hot sauce. The luncheon is free and open to all. The BSU will be accepting donations for Haiti at the event.

The month of March is Women’s History Month, and BSU will be hosting “My Black is Beautiful,” an event to empower everyone in the black community.  The event will feature special guest YaYa DaCosta from America’s Next Top Model, who will speak, answer questions, sign autographs, and take photos. In early April, the BSU will also be hosting a service day, which will take place at Franklin Park in Dorchester. The day is dedicated to clean up the park and promote community service.

“BSU is a great organization. We have a lot to offer to students, and it is a great opportunity to learn about and celebrate black heritage and culture,” said Ross. “We are there for students and let them know there is someone for them to talk and relate to. BSU is especially great for freshmen to get involved, make friends, and learn about areas of Boston.”

Students are encouraged to get involved by attending general meetings. “We talk to members to see how they’re doing and how we can improve,” said Lewis. “It’s not about us. It is all about the students. We incorporate all of the students’ wants, and ask them, ‘What do you want?'”

“You can also [join the group] on Facebook and that way you are able to receive all e-mails and updates on our events,” said Lauture. The group posts include Black History facts, as well as information promoting current and upcoming events. By signing up for the e-mail list, students will receive notifications on events, scholarships, and general knowledge. “Our Executive Board members are very friendly and students can always come by the Office of Diversity Services to talk with us,” said Ross.

Last year, BSU won Outstanding Organization of the Year. “It made me want to work harder. We were ecstatic to work hard and give back to the community,” said Ross. “We are all about Suffolk and the students!”

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