Black Student Union organizes celebrations on campus for Black History Month

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The BYU Black Student Union is hosting events spanning the month of February including dress-up days, speakers and performances in celebration of the achievements and contributions of the Black community.

Movie screenings provided by International Cinema and various lectures are also planned for students to enjoy.

Students of the Black Student Union celebrate together. All BYU students are welcome to attend any Black History Month events. (Photo courtesy of Sebastian Stewart-Johnson)

“Black History Month means a chance for me to celebrate me, my family, my ancestors and pretty much all the contributions that the people that look like me put into the United States to bring it to where it is today,” BYU sociology major Rachel Weaver said.

Weaver said she wants to bring awareness to the BYU population that Black students are here and want to be treated like everyone else and also asks students to acknowledge the hardships Black students face within their communities.

Black Student Union president Nathanael Byrd said Black history is world history, and it often gets forgotten the rest of the year.

“Black history is world history and it gets forgotten pretty much for the entirety of the year, so Black History Month is the one opportunity we really have to highlight it and have it in the public eye,” Byrd said. “People need to know that without the contributions of Black people, there would be no America.”

The Black Student Union is hosting Perspectives Week this week, Feb. 14–Feb. 18. Events include a Q&A for difficult topics, presentations on overlooked Black women in history and working with Black youth in the area.

“Perspectives is more than just sharing our culture. We want to share why we love our culture, what we think regarding our culture, but also our viewpoint and how we think about the world as well,” said Sebastian Stewart-Johnson, secretary of the Black Student Union.

Stewart-Johnson said he hopes the events are filled with meaning and allow people to connect with each other.

Byrd said, despite BYU’s lack of resources for multicultural clubs and students, the Black Student Union does what they can on their own. Perspectives Week is one way they show support for their community. “It’s kind of our way of trying to make a difference on campus,” Byrd said.

Black History Month events

Upcoming Black History Month events include various lectures, events, film screenings and more throughout the next two weeks on campus.

The Black Student Union is hosting their Focus Week, where each day people are encouraged to dress a certain way. Monday is a black-out where everyone is encouraged to wear black. There is Talk About It Tuesday, Women Warrior Wednesday (wear t-shirts of Black women), Throwback Thursday (wear ’90s hip hop attire) and Afro-fashion Friday.

The International Cinema is showing the movie “His Name Is Green Flake,” in Room 250 KMBL, Feb. 16–19. On Feb. 17, the movie’s director Mauli Bonner will attend the 5:30 p.m. showing and host a Q&A after the film.

Panelists Ryan Gabriel, Sherinah Saasa and Zyon Smiley discuss the challenges that come with being Black in their chosen profession and how they respond in Picture a Black Social Scientist on Feb. 17.

The show “Perspectives” premiers on Feb. 18 where Black students put on a performance through music, dance and poetry highlighting a beautiful expansion of history and culture. The free event is part of a cultural program sponsored by the Multicultural Student Services office and Black Student Union at 7 p.m. in the WSC Ballroom.

The International Cinema is showing the film “Driving While Black,” in Room 250 KMBL, Feb. 23–26. On Feb. 25 the showing will include an introduction by Susan Rugh, dean of undergraduate education at BYU and a meet-and-greet with filmmakers Gretchen Sorin and Ric Burns at 5 p.m.

There is a Hickman Diversity + Inclusion Lecture with Ryan Gabriel, assistant professor of sociology, at 11 a.m. on Feb. 24 in Room 250 KMBL. That same day there is a Global Women’s Studies Colloquium titled “Transitions and Transformations: A Parents’ Process of Accepting a Transgender Child.” The lecture will feature Quintin Hunt and Julia Bernards from the BYU School of Family Life and will be at noon in Room 238 HRCB or through Zoom.

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