By Carrie Thayer
A campus organization is looking to ensure black representation this February.
The Black Student Union will be hosting events on campus throughout the month to not only honor African Americans who have contributed to this nation’s history, but to also open up a dialogue among students.
The first event takes place Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in CMU 114. Students will be welcomed to join in a discussion about the standards of beauty in our society.
College is a time when a lot of students are finding out who they are. To BSU president and communications junior Lexi Byler, this makes the topic particularly timely.
“It’s important to make not only minorities that are women, but also men, feel comfortable looking and dressing in a way that makes them comfortable,” Byler said in an email interview.
Food and prizes will be included at the discussion.
On Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in CMU 114, there will be a screening of “Fruitvale Station.” The film is the true story of Oscar Grant III and the events of his life on New Years Day 2008. The film follows Grant as he strives to become a better person, but a run-in with a train station officer has an unfortunate outcome.
“I think the movie is important for people to watch because it does a great job of showing the harsh reality of police brutality from the eyes of a person of color,” Byler said.
Given the coverage of Michael Brown and Eric Garner last year, this movie is an ideal catalyst for students to be able to voice their feelings about those events.
“I hope the film starts a conversation on campus about how we don’t live in a color blind society yet, that racism still exists on many levels, and in order to conquer it, we need to have open and honest conversations about it,” Byler said.
The events will conclude with the third annual Soul Food Dinner on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. in CMU 114. The meal will include fried chicken, sweet mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, and corn bread.
While the event has garnered some push back in the past, Byler said the tradition of soul food is one to be celebrated.
“What people don’t understand is that Soul Food has history,” Byler said. “Soul Food came from slave owners giving their slaves the food that they didn’t want to use. The slaves were able to get creative and invent a lot of our favorite dishes that we have in black culture.”
The BSU’s events are free, and all students are encouraged to attend.
“In a way, it’s disheartening that February is largely the only time black history gets attention, as I believe it should be focused on every month just as white history is,” Byler said. “But it is nice having a designated month where these diverse conversations are happening all over the place.”