Celebrating Black History Month with the BSU


February, the “month of love,” is also Black History Month, in which we take a retrospective look at African American History and celebrate the African American identity within our society. The Black Student Union, the Dean’s Office, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs have collaborated this year to bring a whole host of Black History Month Events from films to guest speakers.

Senior and BSU Club President Brittany Sada Davis had this to say about this month’s celebration: “The Black Student Union really wants the campus community to join us in this celebration of blackness. Often times, people think you have to be black to celebrate this month. You don’t have to be black to celebrate Black History Month. So much of American pop culture is inspired by black culture (not excluding Blackness around the globe), this month is a time to celebrate the richness of black culture, and the legacy of those have come before us!”

On Tuesday Feb. 5, Hasani Pettiford gave a talk to St. Mary’s students on relationships and how to make them stronger. He emphasized the equality of the two individuals involved, and that each of them should have a strong sense of self-respect because of their unique worth. A girl should not (to paraphrase Mr. Pettiford) “engage in physical activities because she would like to attract a mate.”

If the person is brought in by sex, they will stay because of sex, and it is not likely to translate into love for a person’s intellect. For that, Hasani stressed the need for openness and devotion, to not cheat, to embody the ideals they would wish to see in their significant other. Audience participation was greatly encouraged, and on multiple occasions he would ask for audience opinions, and used two volunteers for a marriage scenario. Roughly 40 people were in attendance.

According to first-year Sui Boriang, “One of my favorite parts was when he was talking about the four seasons of a relationship. I think that it is very important to have that of kind of performance because some of us do not know what makes a healthy relationship.”

First-year Adeteniola Adebayo said, “I liked that he gave tips about relationships also… I feel like he’s really good at helping people with relationship problems.”

The next day, the 3rd Annual Black Inspirational Icons Panel was held in Cole Cinema, in which four current or former SMCM students shared their thoughts about black leaders whom they admire. One of the four panelists was first-year Kareem Adams. He talked about writer and civil rights promoter James Baldwin. According to Adams, “It felt good to share our inspirations with other students on campus.”

Other panelists included another first-year named Knakia Francis, Assistant Vice President of External Relations Keisha Reynolds, and sophomore Neneh Sillah. In the eyes of Knakia Francis, “the event could have been more well attended but the discussions were amazing . . . there’s a type of upliftment and power through the reflection of your history, though I feel the black community isn’t doing it enough.”

The Black Student Union had their first meeting of the spring semester on Thursday Feb. 7, where they played icebreakers to get all the members to learn each other’s names and to introduce the club to new members. The BSU showed two films in Cole Cinema through the support of Programs Board and the Library on Feb.  12 and 19. The films shown were Life Support and For Colored Girls.

The last event was Soul Food Sunday, where BSU members made their favorite soul food dishes and shared them in Daugherty-Palmer Commons (DPC). While these events helped to disseminate information both about Black History Month and the feelings of the African American community within SMCM, BSU president Brittany Davis admitted it was “difficult to host these types of events on campus because multiculturalism is an option here. The majority of the people that come to Black History Month events are black.” She added on that “black culture is omnipresent in American popular culture, and yet people cannot take time to show respect to that culture.”