Every year, the Black Student Union, along with other black organizations on campus, celebrates the past and the present with the annual Black Heritage Celebration. This is a time when we can truly reflect on the progress those of African descent have made throughout the world.
In commemoration of what we have achieved, the BSU hosted Dr. Michael Eric Dyson in Betts Theater as the keynote speaker. This past weekend, a crowd packed Lisner Auditorium and watched several fraternities and sororities step dance at the 12th annual “Step Your Game Up” step show. This week, the month of empowerment continues as the Black Women’s Forum celebrates womanhood and the NAACP celebrates its Founder’s Week. It has been a great month for not just African-Americans but the GW community as a whole.
Still, there are issues that we must address even in the midst of celebration. I write this piece as a keen observer of what happens on this campus. It is imperative that we take what is positive and make it much better.
This year, the celebration’s theme is “Sankofa: Writing the Black Autobiography.” It teaches us to “go back and take.” This campus was a part of history not too long ago and as students we must learn to go back and take what we have seen from the past to make a better future. Barack Obama might be president now but it is up to us to hold him accountable the same way we have done for other presidents.
Student political involvement reached its peak during the election. That same level of enthusiasm must continue because this is where it matters the most. Let’s understand the sacrifices of those behind us and continue to advocate for our interests. For black males, who still remain an endangered species on college campuses nationwide, the BSU and Black Men’s Initiative fosters leadership development, making the college years truly matter.
Many have the misconception that the BSU is an exclusive organization only fitting the needs of African-American students. While this organization was formed out of a need to address racial issues 40 years ago, today is a new day. Yes, the BSU represents its African-American constituency, but this it also has some members that are not black. In addition, we have a history of working with the College Democrats and the Organization of Latin America Students and will work with Allied in Pride later this month. The Ace, our publication, has staff members of different backgrounds.
We highly encourage anyone, black or not, to join us. Now is the time. Like Dyson said during his keynote speech, President Obama’s election does not mean we’re in a post-racial society. Instead, it is a sign we should accept and embrace each other’s differences and learn more about each other. Most of the time, people who call the BSU an exclusive organization have never attended a meeting or event.
Let’s congratulate ourselves for being a part of change. In addition, let’s acknowledge that there is still work to be done from both within and outside the black community. Writing and reading about it will do little, so I highly encourage those that have not done so to attend some BHC events this month. I hope to see you there.
The writer, a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication, is a member of the Executive Board of the Black Student Union and editor in chief of The Ace.
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