Celebrating Black History Month and 50 years of BSU at UNI
Black Student Union (BSU) ushered in Black History Month last week with its annual kickoff celebration in Maucker Union. This year is extra special because it coincides with the 50th anniversary of BSU at UNI which will be a focal point of the celebrations all month long.
The diverse lineup of activities aligns with BSU’s vision to celebrate Black culture, speak on issues that are important to Black Americans and teach Black heritage. All of this is done under the leadership of BSU President Laito Zarkpah along with advisors Yakira Sanders and Dacia Carter. Like with all of BSU’s events, anyone is welcome to participate in the activities.
“Black History Month shouldn't be the only time we recognize and celebrate Black history, but there’s something especially meaningful about setting apart this month for all of us to do it together,” said interim director of Diversity, Inclusion & Social Justice Chiquita Loveless. “No matter what may be happening in any given year, it’s crucial for the Black community to remember the challenges we’ve faced and the achievements we’ve made in spite of them.”
After the kickoff, BSU’s next event will be Poetic Justice which is a poetry contest in the Center for Multicultural Education on February 9. Although there are prizes, the goal of this event is to create a safe event for poets to share their original works.
On February 13, BSU takes its programming off campus to Gift of Life Church in Waterloo for a soul food dinner. Not only does this give attendees the chance to enjoy a delicious dinner, but it also showcases the significance of food in African-American culture.
On Valentine’s Day, Black Student Union will be passing out candy grams in Maucker Union for those who previously placed their orders. The annual 70s-themed roller skate party—complete with a friendly costume contest—will be held on February 19 in the Wellness and Recreation Center. This is one of BSU’s most popular events each year.
Another one of BSU’s signature Black History Month events is the Tunnel of Oppression in Lang Hall which will be held on February 28. Participants will find something different in each Lang classroom to represent the unique experiences of being in the Black community. These experiences educate on everything from microaggressions to genocide.
To round out BSU’s lineup of Black History Month events, the annual Toast for Change will be held on March 5 in Maucker Union Ballroom. This event formally recognizes the accomplishments of BSU and gives them an opportunity to thank their sponsors and supporters.