Black Student Union, Undergraduate Student Government plan Black History Month events

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Black Issues- 2/18

Every February the nation honors the contributions African Americans have made to help shape America. At BGSU, many students and faculty make sure Black History Month leaves an impact, especially on students of color.

The Black Student Union celebrates Black History Month and the founding of its organization by creating events to help spread awareness about important people in black history. BSU president and junior political science major Kyron Smith said BSU was formed on Feb. 19, 1969, and its purpose was to have a place for students of color to come together — on a predominantly white campus — and have their voices heard. This organization meets regularly, but the month of February keeps them fairly busy.

“We typically have our general body meetings every Thursday, but this month we’ve been working closely with Office of Multicultural Affairs to put on the Black Issues Conference and in addition to that we have our Jackson Tolliver scholarship, which will also be presented at the conference,” Smith said.

The Black Issues Conference is one of the biggest annual events at the university in celebration of Black History Month.

According to the interim director of multicultural affairs, Ana Brown, the Black Issues Conference is a chance for the university as a whole to talk about issues currently affecting the black community. Students are encouraged to pre-register for the conference due to the large number of people that attend.

The conference seats about 500 people each year and presents guest speakers who have an important role in the black community.

“It’s a catalyst for the education process because it sparks discussion. Some of our topics can be a little bit more controversial than others and some are just a whole lot of ‘Oh my goodness, I didn’t know,’” Brown said.

Feb. 22 is the 19th annual conference. One of the speakers is nationally known author and civil rights activist Shaun King.

The Black Issues Conference isn’t the only event being held this month. Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi will deliver the keynote address for “Beyond the Dream,” a series of events that focus on different cultures across campus, on Wednesday. This series includes other returning black history themed events, such as the Taste of February on Feb. 28 and new events like Excellence in the Making.

Excellence in the Making, which was held Monday, gave students the opportunity to learn more about multicultural student organizations on campus. The event was created by Undergraduate Student Government Director of Diversity Affairs Courtney Chambers to help bring more inclusion to the university for students of color.

“I made this program to lighten the load and make students more comfortable with joining organizations in hopes to keep them involved, which will keep them enrolled,” Chambers said.

This is the first year Excellence in the Making is a part of BGSU’s celebrations, but Chambers has high expectations for this event and plans to have it every year for Black History Month.

With the help of students and faculty, the importance of Black History Month will continue to be honored, and the contributions of African Americans will be remembered.