The Black Student Union (BSU) in partnership with the BYU Office of Belonging hosted “The Black Student Union Junior,” an event specifically for Black children between the ages of 3 and 12 on Jan. 31.
“It’s very important for kids growing up to have mentors and people to look up to and it definitely makes a huge difference when your mentors look like you” BSU member Alley Byrd said.
The purpose of the event was to promote self-love and help kids find mentors in the community.
“It started in 2018 by our president Nate Byrd at the time,” BSU president Kylee Shepherd said. “It was basically just a way to bring Black kids in the community, to give them a safe space, to see people who look like them in a place of higher learning.”
Members of the BSU said they want to inspire the kids and give them someone to look up to and that can be their mentor. Mentors encouraged self-love though face painting, haircuts and styling, positive affirmation spaces, nail painting, cookie decoration, music, snacks and more.
“We have a hair care unit, so knowing how to take care of their hair,” BSU vice-president Kiese Mpongo said. “There are different stations, haircuts, self-affirmation so they can just realize that, you know, black is beautiful, that their skin is beautiful, their hair is beautiful.”
Utah isn’t a very diverse place, some BSU students said, and they are often the only Black students in their classrooms. To promote inclusion and help children be less lonely, the BSU is trying to help them build a sense of community early in life.
Shepherd said the event is a fun place for BSU students to see other people in the community and for kids to see students.
The BSU hopes to have such events once a month. More information can be found on their instagram page.