Black Student Union celebrates Black History Month

Feb. 4, 2013

April Wefler
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Between Valentine’s Day for couples and Presidents Day representing our admiration for country, February is the month of love.

But throughout the month, there’s another kind of love, a love for a culture: Black History Month.

“It celebrates the struggle and accomplishment of our people and of people who weren’t afraid to stand up for black rights,” said Whitley Hadley, senior and president of the Black Student Union (BSU).

Hadley said she didn’t have an extensive knowledge of black history until she came to college. “With the schools I attended, you learn the fluff about black history,” she said. “It isn’t just the Martin Luther Kings and the Rosa Parks.”

BSU is attending and hosting several events throughout the month, including “The N!gga (er) Word,” Harlem Renaissance, Black History Movie Night and the BSU Talent Show.

“The N!gga (er) Word” is hosted by the Matrix Center Feb. 4 from 6-7 p.m. in University Center Room 302.

Hadley said the event is an open forum that will discuss how the n-word is holding back the community, what it means now in 2013 and how it’s different from 30 years ago. Dr. Eddie Moore will present.

“The n-word is a double standard; black people use it – white people can’t, and if they do, they’re looked down upon, so just get rid of it,” Hadley said. “I find it disrespectful; others find it empowering.”

The second event is Harlem Renaissance, which will be hosted by BSU on Feb. 7. Phillip Ramsay, a student who presented for the Educating Children of Color Summit on Jan. 12, will be presenting about the Harlem Renaissance.

“It was a really big movement for black people – really big movement for black artists and books,” Hadley said.

The next event is Black History Movie Night on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., which will show a film from black history. The event will be followed by Jazz Night and Candlelit Walk on Feb. 16.

Jazz Night and Candlelit Walk will include a reception with coffee and pastries and an open mic night. “We really want to reach out to the community and remembering people who’ve put in so much work for the black community to be where they are now and celebrating,” Hadley said.

The last event will be the BSU Talent Show on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. The talent show will include stepping, drummers, strolling and poetry.

“We really wanted to showcase the talent we have in the community that is overlooked,” Hadley said. She added that she will be stepping with some of her friends and family and strolling with her sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma.

Hadley explained that stepping is making music with your body, and strolling is how black Greeks historically showed pride in their organization.

“I attended a Black Student Government conference, and it blew my mind. You could see how proud the Greeks were of their sorority,” she said.

Hadley said she thinks it’s exciting to learn about other cultures. “You will interact with people of other cultures, and I think it’s significant to know why this is important to them,” she said.

“You shouldn’t forget the past – how much people have put in to get you where you are, and I think it’s important to celebrate.”

Hadley said that she hopes that BSU will continue growing and that people will learn and have fun. “I think if you have fun learning, it sticks with you,” she said.

“We are open to all walks of life – just want everybody to come out and learn about our culture.”