Student perspectives on Black History Month

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BYU students discussed the significance Black History Month has for them and others.

“It’s a time for us to commemorate all the past events and the struggle and what it means to actually be Black in America,” international relations student Wendy Washington said.

Washington grew up in East St. Louis, where the majority of the population is Black. She said there were many struggles in the community, such as rioting, red lining and inequitable education, which made it difficult to get out and succeed.

“Even though East St. Louis was supposed to be a hindrance to my success in life, just the way it was set up historically, it became the catalyst to my success and who I am today,” she said.

Washington said she feels it is important for the BYU community to understand issues such as blind racism or implicit bias, and to take proactive steps to address them. One way she celebrates her culture is through music and dance as a member of BYU’s Rhythm N’ Soul Collective.

“Doing this with Alex Boye, doing nineties and like seeing everyone dance to my culture, love my culture and it’s just like it’s, it really warms my heart,” she said.

Augustine Tambe is a BYU graduate from Austin, Texas.

“Black History Month is a way to remember and to reflect on the history and I guess celebrates the culture of the African diaspora,” he said.

Tambe said that he observes this month by educating himself more through books about historical figures, podcasts, music, and poetry.

“If we don’t learn from history, we’re bound to repeat it,” he said.

Tambe particularly highlighted the influence of Malcom X in his life.

“He talks about how we can overcome our own personal challenges to become better for ourselves,” he said.

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