LIAM EASLEY, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Wartburg’s Black Student Union (BSU) last Friday, February 5, BSU rolled out their first plan of the month, which they called “Black Out.” During the day, students wore all black to commemorate the Black lives lost from police brutality and racial injustice. Their next event will be Thursday, Feb. 11, where they will be showing the 2017 documentary “LA 92” in the McCaskey Lyceum located in the Saemann Student Center.
The student organization uses Black History Month to celebrate Black culture and heritage. The student organization is not unique to Warburg; in fact, most universities and colleges around the nation have a Black Student Union. The organization exists to further educate other individuals who have not otherwise experienced different cultures about their importance, according to their page listed on the Wartburg College website.
“Since Wartburg is a predominantly white institution, BSU for me, is where I can find people I can relate to,” Vanessa Mamabolo, BSU member, said. “It’s somewhere that I can go and find people with the same struggles. Especially because, not only is Wartburg predominantly white, Waverly in itself is as well. It’s my escape place, my comfort zone.”
According to DataUSA, Wartburg College’s black student population is 4.71% compared to the 75.1% white student population.
Black Student Union is a welcoming community, members said, and students of all backgrounds are welcome to join it.
“People think that BSU is the ‘Black kids’ club’ and that only Black kids can be in it,” Carrington Bush, BSU president, said, “but that’s really not the case. The club is open to Black people and non-black people. If you’re not Black, then you can just come and learn about Black culture or uplift it, you know, be an ally. We’re hoping to garner that change – that you don’t have to be Black to come to our events, you don’t have to be Black to be involved.”
Members of BSU come from all over the world to congregate and share each other’s experiences and observations.
“I’m just trying to understand what struggles people have in the U.S., since I’m [from South Africa],” Mamabolo said, “so learning the history by going to BSU meetings tells me what their struggles are, and it’s funny because we are 8,000 miles apart in terms of where we grew up, but the things we experienced are the same. The only common thing we have is our race.”
Black History Month has roots almost 100 years old. Black History Month was first called “Negro History Week,” according to africanamericanhistorymonth.gov, and it was first celebrated during a week in February 1926, the two celebrations being both Abraham Lincoln’s Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. It wasn’t extended to a month until 1976, when it was then called “African American History Month.”
BSU will host many more events, and all are welcome to join. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.