The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

The independent student news site of San Marcos, California

The Cougar Chronicle

Student Organization Spotlight: Black Student Union promotes student activism


By Shanice Davis

Staff Writer

In 2011, CSUSM’s Black Student Union was re-recognized as an organization, according to their now president, Akilah Green. On campus, there’s mostly Caucasian and Hispanic students; Green recalls being in a state of shock upon first arriving.

She found there weren’t many African Americans students at CSUSM.

“I was looking for something of blackness, some community to belong to; it was a culture shock. I’m used to seeing Black and Latino everywhere,” Green said.

In Fall 2013, CSUSM had only 3 percent African Americans. Because of that, BSU strives to be a group for African Americans to connect, as one of their goals is to make sure African Americans are aware of their presence.

“BSU has given me the opportunity to have that black community and has allowed me to meet the most amazing people and faculty,” Antonette Herndon, fellow BSU member, said.

In addition to fellowship, BSU’s other goals include raising awareness about low enrollment rates in higher education, with only 5.6 percent of San Diego County consisting of African Americans. It plays a part with schools having lower percentages of Black students.

“We have local high school students who have guaranteed admission to our university by meeting basic requirements and a lot of these students are not African American. How do we reach out to those students to let them know about this great opportunity?” Green said.

BSU also seeks to make sure that currently enrolled African Americans graduate and raise awareness about societal issues like police brutality.

“It’s not only effecting Black communities, Latino communities; it’s effecting a lot of people,” Green said.

It’s Black History Month and BSU has many upcoming events for February.

“We have a Natural Hair Show on Feb.10 in Ballrooms A&C from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Our texture is looked at as bad, it needs to be permed, weaved, changed, but we should embrace our natural beauty,” Green said.

The Natural Hair Show is only one of multiple events for Black History Month happening throughout February.

“We have “The Harlem Renaissance Revealed” exhibit, [it is] highlighting individuals who drove the movement and highlighting the cultural awareness of bringing about Black Power,” Green said. “We also have our Black History Month Festival on Feb. 19 in the Library Plaza during U-hour and we are screening Selma on Feb. 20.”

BSU is about progression and alliance amongst people, as their motto is “Believe, strive, and unite,” proudly cites Green.

However, a time when BSU felt discouraged occurred last semester during the release of the Michael Brown verdict. Immediately, BSU showed support but was bothered by students’ nonchalant demeanors. Even though eyewitnesses say Brown assaulted the officer, BSU felt  the situation was mishandled. Students reacted, ‘Well, he robbed a store,’

“That doesn’t justify his death, he should’ve been in jail, that’s what jails are for. He robbed a store, but have you ever done anything bad in your life? Have you ever broken laws in your life? If someone murdered you, how would your family feel? You wouldn’t deserve that; due process is what you’d deserve,” Green said.

Incidents like this case is why BSU is passionate in their endeavors.

“People need to know, when people say, ‘That stuff happens all the time,’ we can’t have that, that attitude’s not progressive,” Green said. “It happens all the time, but when are we going to say something? When are we going to change laws so it doesn’t happen all the time and when it does, we have an emotional response.”

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