BSU Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month at the University of Puget Sound has begun, with multiple events already hosted by the Black Student Union and other groups on campus. This month, dedicated to experiencing, learning and appreciating black stories and history, continues with more events and discussions for students, staff and the Tacoma community.

“Black History Month is a time to delve into the histories of black heritage, and not only learn but to reflect, and honor, and remember, and to celebrate,” Nakisha Renee Jones, President of Black Student Union, said.

University of Puget Sound’s BSU is collaborating with other groups on campus and within the Tacoma community to put on events that spread knowledge of black history as well as current black stories.

“I think Black history is important because it shapes a lot of our world history, and it shapes it in a way that not everyone knows or acknowledges,” Jones said. “And the contributions, and the histories, and the legacies of black people are so profound that it’s really hard to either ignore or to avoid.”

The BSU has already started off Black History Month with speaker Kevin Powell and a showing of Selma.

The month will continue with events like Michael Powers speaking Feb. 19, a Dear White People film talk-back, AfroCaribbean Dance Night FUNdraiser and ending with a showing of Out in the Night.

“When people don’t hear those stories, they don’t know that it’s still active, that black life still matters,” junior Rachel Askew, Committee Chair of BSU, said. “So if we’re talking about those stories that are happening right now, then it brings that history to life.”

The events connect to each other to form a cohesive representation of black culture, history and stories both past and present.

Each week of Black History Month has a different theme: Black Leadership, History, Race at Puget Sound and Music and Dance.

“I think that Black History Month for the students at UPS means that they get to have a little taste of what it’s like to be black, and not in a way where they’re dressing up as black people and trying to rob culture, but in a way that they’re getting to experience the thoughts that go through our heads every day,” Askew said.

The BSU encourages all students, faculty and Tacoma community members of all backgrounds to be involved in this month’s events and discussions. In order to foster an open dialogue about race and black history, all members of the community are invited to be active participants in Puget Sound’s Black History Month.

“This is an everyday thing. I don’t think we can just take 28 days out of the year to try to delve into a lot of these issues, so I think it’s just more than Black History Month, I think it’s something we need to do all year-round. And it’s something people need to tune into,” Akilah Blakey, Puget Sound junior and member of BSU, said.

Black History Month allows the campus community the opportunity to attend events that allow them to gain new perspectives on other cultures and people of different races and backgrounds.

“For me, it’s a month for everyone else to be seeing things from my point of view, or just thinking about it differently,” junior and member of BSU Lydia Gebrehiwot said.

This month is meant to spark awareness of current and past black stories on and off the Puget Sound campus.

“We don’t all have the same story, not all black people are alike. So I think getting to know people individually, hearing us, what we’ve gone through, I think that helps with the white experience, we totally fit into that,” Blakey said.