The Black Student Union supports students of color



The Black Student Union (BSU) provides students with the opportunity to have important discussions that they might not otherwise have in school.

The first Black Student Union (BSU) was created across the country at San Francisco State University in 1966. Years later, the BSU at the high school is creating a strong community and educating students and staff through discussions, workshops and events.

The meetings occur every Week B X-block in room 306. They are often built off of discussions and range from serious conversations to ones about the members’ own personal lives.

The club was passed down to senior and BSU co-president Evamena Ekelemu last year by graduating students. She said the club continues to create change in the community.

One of the first big projects the BSU chose to work on was a presentation for Black History Month. They worked on a presentation on the history of hip hop and put up posters of educators of color within the high school.

In light of the racist video where a student hatefully said the n-word, the BSU has been discussing its impact. Junior and events planner of the BSU Madison Allen said the silence and inaction around the resurfaced racist video at the high school does not repair the harm felt by Black students.

“The high school claims to hold community at the core of their values, and more importantly doesn’t stand for hate speech in our community. Right now our community needs to mobilize the urgency for restorative justice to heal the wounded souls of many students, specifically our Black students,” Allen said.

According to Allen, the club pushes for more opportunities within the school to discuss race and racism. The club planned many events to help create these conversations and plan on collaborating with the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA).

“One of our upcoming events will be a Health and Wellness workshop where we will create space to collectively brainstorm self-care strategies and ways we can bring awareness to stigmatizing language barriers and discuss the unique challenges of mental health in the Black community,” Allen said.

Junior and co-president Ary Alvarez-Valdez said one of the main goals of the BSU is to be a place of learning where blame is not put onto people and rather awareness is spread.

“We want to educate. We’re allowing allies to come to some of our meetings because these allies, predominantly white people, are the ones who need that education the most,” Alvarez-Valdez said.

Ekelemu said that with every additional meeting the BSU grows larger and closer.

“I think after our last meeting we have a much closer community and a much larger one. The first meeting there were maybe ten people max that were there, but then at the hip hop workshop we had a bunch more people. I think we’re just really connecting with different groups around the school and building a stronger community,” Ekelemu said.

Alvarez-Valdez said that the BSU is like a second family for high school students who are looking for a sense of belonging and importance.

“I love being able to be in a space filled with other Black students across other grade levels. It’s definitely a safe space and that’s what I love about it so much. The BSU has decided that we will allow allies to come to some of our meetings, but there will be some meetings that are just for the students of color because you still need that safe space, that time where you can’t always feel comfortable around the allies,” Alvarez-Valdez said.

Allen said she finds it inspiring how the club members are working towards making change at the high school and beyond.

“My favorite part about the BSU is seeing so many young Black minds brimming with intelligence, creativity and a drive to make racial change beyond the walls of the high school,” Allen said. “I feel so blessed to be breathing the same air as the next student body of leaders, achievers and believers of a more equal and just world.”