Feature: Black Student Union Returns to M-A Campus
The Black Student Union (BSU) has returned to M-A following a resurgence of interest for their cause among the student body. With February dubbed ‘Black History Month’, there is no more appropriate month for the club’s presence to be re-asserted.
Principle Matthew Zito elected Ms. April Holliverse, an African-American English teacher and M-A track coach, to host BSU meetings in her classroom. Being a former member of the track and field team at the University of California at Berkley has allowed her to use jumping hurdles as a metaphor in counseling youth, “the hurdles symbolized obstacles in my life that I was forced to overcome, just as the children are often confronted with obstacles in their own right. The turnout for the meetings has been encouraging, including a surprisingly higher number of girls than boys. Every Wednesday, the club comes together to support one another in overcoming ‘life’s hurdles’.
BSU aims to allow African American students to “become self-advocates, to be a voice and give a voice to those of us around the world who do not have one,” discloses Holliverse, “This is important in order to realize our relevance in the world. We are all here for a reason.” The group places heavy emphasis on the importance of gaining self-independence, and translating that independence into actions in “the world outside [their] neighborhood”. After they have gained a sense of self in her classroom, Holliverse wants her students to reach out to others in the community, ideally through community service events. In the future, the club hopes to volunteer out in the community in a similar fashion to the way the club currently functions: to promoting self independence and voice. First and foremost, however, Holliverse strongly encourages the development of a sense of community within the student body. In Holliverse’s mind, “as human beings, we all share so much.”
The group has also set up dozens of posters around the school advertising their club and its actions. One poster in particular stands out in pride hall: that portraying pictures and short biographies of lesser-known influential African-American figures throughout history. The display encourages students to submit predictions as to who these people are, as well as to join the club’s meetings on Wednesdays at lunch. These posters underscore the significance of all cultures in history, inspiring students of all races to make an impact in society.
Recently, the BSU has elected their President, Mariah Moore, and Vice President, Jenine Edwards. Edwards clarifies that her goal as a leader in the Union is to “create a sense of unity and remove the race barrier that hinders the school.” To do this, the group would like to incorporate students of all races into the Union, not only African-American ones. As a result, the club has greatly increased its presence and activity on campus, and strongly encourage all to join.
The Black Student Union welcomes everyone to join the group. Meetings are held every Wednesday at lunch, in room E-7.