After feeling nearly invisible a year ago, black students last term rallied, marched and protested their way to recognition, promoting solidarity every step of the way.
The result? Stronger relationships and communication within the black community surrounding this year’s Black History Month events.
“We are making great strides, we are more unified than we were a year ago,” said Danielle Miller, ’15 Political Science, and current Black Student Union president.
Former BSU president Alyxandra Goodwin, ’14 Journalism, has seen changes in the administration’s approach to Black History Month. In the past, she and other black organization members were frustrated and felt that the administration did not take notice.
“Last year, the Black History Month events were all [student-led]. This year, the university sent out a memo for the African-American pioneer posters,” she said. “It’s almost like the university has to give us more recognition.”
Sasha Bassett, ‘14 Behavioral Science and Sociology, and MOSAIC diversity advocate intern, said it’s imperative that SJSU honor the different perspectives and cultures on campus.
Gary Daniels, ‘15 Political Science, and Alpha Phi Alpha president, added that in the last year, student leaders developed the Black Unity Group, a coalition of student-run black organizations that advocates for the rights of black students as well as other marginalized groups at SJSU.
“We are actually able to work closely with groups of different struggles like Latino students, LGBT groups and women’s groups,” he said. “We’re able to work together on a common basis where we can support each other.”
Last February, students marched on “Black Thursday” for recognition of blacks on campus and against the opinion article “Black History Month is Redundant,” published in the Spartan Daily.
Daniels said that the rally was the first display of black unity and the movement has grown. Danielle Miller predicts this growth will continue, in spite of trials and tribulations.
“If you go to a place and everyone is complaining about something,” Daniels said, “it’s time for you to stop complaining and start standing up.”