Black Student Union hosts 16th annual Black Legacy Dinner

Natasha Ivery and Natasha Ivery

In honor of the closing of Black History Month at the University, the Black Student Union [BSU] hosted the 16th annual Black Legacy Dinner Friday night in the BTSU ballroom. The theme for this year was, “We’re Still Standing.”

Hosted by 2 seniors, former BSU president Kevin Lewis and Ashlee Banks, the evening consisted of songs, personal anecdotes and traditional cultural foods like collard greens, baked chicken and cheese grits. Sophomore Matthew Murray presented “Message to the Grassroots,” a speech by Malcolm X and several organizations talked about how they show unity.

The evening started out with a rendition of the Negro National Anthem. Afterward, while people were eating, the keynote speaker, former BSU president and BGSU alumna Tiffany Smith, gave the keynote address for the evening. She started out with her being born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.

“BSU was my first introduction to leadership at BGSU,” Smith said.

Smith discussed an incident that occurred in 2013, when some students were tweeting racial slurs after a sorority of students of color entered the former club Ziggy’s. She explained how that particular incident began the campaign Not In Our Town.

“BGSU held the people who tweeted the slurs accountable and made it work,” she said.

Smith then went on to talk about how she visited Paris, graduated from Kennesaw State University and received her Masters. She will soon be beginning a new position with Amnesty International.

“I wouldn’t be real if I didn’t admit my mistakes,” Smith said as she went into some times that were difficult for her at the University. She went on to talk about the importance of student leadership, creating community at the University and building relationships with faculty and staff to create unity.

“I’m only a combination of the community that was created by me, without them I wouldn’t be here,” she said.

Lewis and Banks then led the audience in a participation piece, asking audience members what legacy they wanted to leave in 50 years. Following that, there was a unity step performance by Greek members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Voices of BG choir performed two choral selections.

Gregory Harrison, junior and current president of BSU, took to the stage and thanked everyone for their support of the event, the organization and putting the event


“People look at the president as the face of the organization, but you all are the most supportive group, the real face of the organization and I want to thank you all,” he said.

Smith said she was honored and excited to be invited back to the University to be the keynote speaker for

the event.

“I’m glad to revisit where I came from,” she said.

Smith believes that Black History Month is still vital and necessary to be recognized and celebrated.

“It’s completely necessary,” she said. “BHM is still vital because the fight is not yet won, there is still work to be done, especially with peers across all identities. We need to work on dismantling this notion of anti-blackness and white supremacy norm. The month gives the opportunity to elevate black past and current events.”

Sophomore Elle Long said she enjoyed the event.

“I came because I was invited by a friend and I’m very glad I came,” she said. “I feel empowered.”

D’Wayne Eddins, a senior at Bowling Green High School, also savored the event.

“I was invited as a part of the BGSU overnight program that I’m doing, and I learned a lot about the legacy of African-Americans,” he said. “I enjoyed being a part of it and I look forward to leaving a legacy.”