BSU Looks to Expand Reach: Group Events Focus on Education, Unity

Beverly Yirenkyi, Staff Writer

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Have you ever wanted to join club at school and felt like you couldn’t?
A very common misconception about black student unions is that only black people can attend meetings. A black student union always emulates an open space where people from all different walks of life can come together and have deep and open-minded conversations about `an array of topics. Paint Branch’s Black Student Union is no exception.

The Paint Branch BSU is meant to be the intersection, the bridge between all generational divisions implemented in society throughout American History that divides our nation. Social divisions often control societies. From divisions between socioeconomic classes to unconventional dietary habits, black people have been separated, defined, and demeaned, which is why the BSU tries to find a common ground. As members of the Paint Branch community, students live in a time where one can not afford social divisions to rule over the perceptions of each other.

In the past few years, Paint Branch BSU was mostly developed because of upperclassmen. This caused the organization to scramble every new school year to elect officers, build a plan, and then solidify a captivated, consistent audience.

This year, BSU wants to change that and get underclassmen more heavily involved. This plan will create not only an organization that reflects the school’s demographics, but also one that is sustainable – something that is the ultimate goal of the BSU.

Marika Mwansa, the current Vice President aims to “integrate and diversify the union, along with educating our generation on pressing issues of today.”

BSU holds events such as the Black History Month potluck, Talkback Tuesdays, and Forum Fridays, with many more exciting events being added to the mix as the school year progresses. Along with holding events, they will begin selling club t-shirts in the upcoming weeks. So make sure to look out for those announcements.

Joy Kuria, a junior officer created events such as “potlucks, movie nights, field trips, and forums.” She is excited for the endless possibilities this can bring. “Where everyone is welcome to come and join in on some fun within our community!”

One way that BSU hopes to attract new members and satisfy current members is by bringing in speakers who reflect the goals and aspirations of those in BSU.

“We are expecting more guest speakers this year outside of Paint Branch Staff,” says BSU Secretary, Senior Giodona Campbell. “These speakers won’t only be here to talk about race-based distinctions but also about profession-oriented struggles they have faced, and possible volunteer work opportunities.”
The Paint Branch BSU is spearheaded by Mrs. Jennifer Walker, a PB social studies teacher, who is an advocate for equal rights and education and who understands the importance of introducing younger generations to social and political topics that are not generally taught within a classroom. Without her help – as well as the help of a combination of other Paint Branch staff and administration who support the program in a variety of ways – the BSU would not be where it is today.

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