Black Student Union: not just for black students

Last year, the Black Student Union made homeless care packages with socks, water, snacks, and an encouraging note as one of their service projects. Pictured from left to right: Edward Garland (junior), Tiffany Azubuike (junior), Anne-Sophie Hall (junior), and Sean White (junior). Photo used by permission of Anne-Sophie Hall.

On today’s episode of Mythbusters, I debunk one of the most common misconceptions at Leesville Road High School: only black students can join Black Student Union. In reality, anyone, regardless of racial identity, can join the club. 

Maybe you already knew that, maybe you didn’t. Or maybe you’re asking what the Black Student Union does anyways. I wondered that myself, which is why I wandered in Mr. Bacon’s room during B lunch on Friday, August 31 to attend BSU’s interest meeting.

Even though the club has two teacher advisors, Coach Eugene McLemore and Kevin Bacon, it is mostly student run. The officers kicked off the meeting by introducing themselves to the room. It was immediately obvious that this was a club that took itself seriously— if you want an easy club to add onto your high school resumé, BSU isn’t for you.

“The club’s goal is to basically educate all club members of societal issues and how to face them…  We are also really focusing this year on stepping out of the classroom. [I]t’s good to talk about things such as positively influencing our community but it’s another to do it,” said Anne-Sophie Hall, junior and president, via text message.  

Much discussion, in fact, goes on in the typical meeting.The officers mentioned that BSU allows for the creation of conversations about social issues. And they don’t have to be racial in nature— you can talk about women’s rights, politics, or anything else going on in the world today.

People also discuss the experiences of black students, and students of any other races, at Leesville and the surrounding community. Many of the returning members said that the freedom to talk about their experience as a person of color without judgement influenced them to join the club “I liked the free and fun environment that [the club] created when talking about social issues because I really found it as a way to vent. I liked being able to feel free to share my thoughts,” said Hall.

The club also does several of community service projects.  BSU started implementing volunteer work last year and plan to continue it in the upcoming school year. “[We] definitely [want to do] more service projects this year but also possibly more encouragement or inspiration through art, such as poetry, etc.,” said Hall. Some examples of projects from last year include creating care packages for the homeless and encouragement packages for students at Hilburn Academy in Raleigh.

The environment, in my opinion, makes the club very attractive. At this point, it is important to note that I’m not black. I identify as a white latina; I was born in Colombia to Colombian parents and I check off the “white” box in the race category of official documents.

But despite not being black, the Black Student Union made me feel welcome as soon as I walked through the door. The environment was very friendly, proactive, and enthusiastic— these are students who want to become more informed about the black community and the problems they face, as well as the victories they celebrate. These are students who are involved in in all kinds of social issues and want to make a change in the world. These are  like-minded individuals who have banded together and created their own little, inclusive community within the Leesville community.

If you want to join a club involving social awareness, helping the community, and a inclusive environment for everyone, look no further. BSU meets every Wednesday during B Lunch in Mr. Bacon’s room.

And if you’re still on the fence, come check it out anyways. “To those that may not feel they’re welcome or it’s too late— it is never too late to join,” said Hall. “We are always opening our arms to new members and this club is not just for black people, but for everyone! Everyone is allowed to stay aware!”

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