Commemorating with community

Black Student Union and African Student Association celebrate Black History Month

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The Black Student Union, African Student Association and the Student Association are looking to spread awareness for Black History Month this February.

BSU President Ayenoumou Barry said club leaders said they want to make Black History Month a bigger deal at UB with different mixers and exhibits. The club hosts celebrations each year, but this time BSU wanted to do something different and reach out to those in the community. BSU plans to work with Medaille College and their after-school program that helps high school students reach the college level. 

“We’re really trying to have a panel with [Medaille College students], to meet with the kids and maybe even bring our general body along with us or have it here. … This Black History Month will be focused on a month of service to the community,” Barry said.

BSU is also looking to do more community outreach by hosting a dinner event called “Cooking with BSU” and volunteering with the homeless in Buffalo, according to Barry. The club is also hoping to organize local trips.

BSU recently moved their planned trip to the Niagara Falls’ Underground Railroad Heritage Center to March. Barry said she was upset that their trip had to be pushed past Black History Month. 

“Buffalo has a lot of history within it. A lot of students don’t realize that there’s a lot of sites around Buffalo that were a part of the Underground Railroad,” Barry said. 

ASA’s goal is to have general body meetings and collaborate with other black UB clubs to bring awareness to black culture, according to ASA president Aniya Turner.

“Our focus is that we partner with a lot of black clubs on campus, whether it’s the National Society of Black Engineers, BALSA, which is a black law chapter here and also BSU,” Turner said. 

She also hopes to have a panel with each club to talk about the struggles black people face in the U.S.

SA is holding events every Wednesday for Black History Month, as well. 

SA held a Black History Month exhibit on Feb. 13. On Feb. 20, SA will have a mixer and dance workshop and it will also hold a “Soul Food Luncheon” on Feb. 27.

ASA will also take part in the Black History Month Mixer and Dance Workshop. The club’s African dance team will teach traditional dances and inform the public about African culture.

The UB Libraries will also have a customized section of books for Black History Month in Lockwood Library. 

The display features a range of books about the civil rights movement, black female leaders, autobiographies of civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X and other 1960s-era Civil Rights events. A picture of civil-rights activist Angela Davis can be seen by the selection of books. Davis will speak at UB through the SA-sponsored Distinguished Speakers Series on Feb. 27.

Turner said people will recognize Black History Month as something important because UB community members are taking the initiative to celebrate it. 

“I see an increase in effort and in raising awareness for Black History Month and this is just a start with their Black History Wednesdays coming up,” Turner said. “I feel like that is a good way to start.”

Alexandra Moyen is a staff writer and can be reached at features@ubspectrum.com