The Black Student Union needs you!

By Rodnetta Morris

DCCC students Chet Isiod (left) and Samson Akinkunmi (right) relax in the STEM building. Photo by Rodnetta Morris

Madeline Somerville-Reeves and Dr. Kendrick Mickens, primary and secondary advisors respectively of the Black Student Union, hope to revive the club founded on May 9, 1989.

According to Mickens, the club was started as a way to help black students navigate a majority white campus.

“This school isn’t necessarily a predominantly white institution anymore,” Mickens said. “It’s more diverse, but when it started, there were definitely more white students here.”

Somerville-Reeves added that the BSU wanted to contribute to the diversity of the
college.

The Black Student Union’s Constitution states the purposes of the group are to provide support for black and minority students; create a thorough understanding of the black community and its history through materials such as books, tapes, lectures, music, and special events; support black value; make access to cultural events affordable; improve representation of black and minority instructors; and provide a greater communication between the college and DCCC’s African American community.

Mickens described the BSU’s inner workings and its ability to build connections.

“A lot of it depends on the students involved with it, the leadership of the group, so if that’s their agenda to help provide career networking opportunities for
students or network students with each other, then they’ll plan activities based
around that,” Mickens said.

Student Damarr Moon poses for a picture in the Academic Building cafe. Photo by Rodnetta Morris

The last successful turnout for the Black Student Union happened in fall 2018.

According to Mickens, students may also want to arrange social activities, such as visiting other schools, maybe even going to the movies.

“They’ve also worked with the homeless, Toys for Tots, and food drives,” Somerville-Reeves said. “They’ve taken money to CityTeam in conjunction with Phi Theta
Kappa and tutored middle school students in the Chester area.”

Furthermore, Mickens said the BSU allows students to focus on societal issues
that affect the black community, such as stereotypes and hot topic questions such as: “Are you black enough?” and “If you’re from here, are you black?”

Somerville-Reeves ex- plained the BSU provides unity through the awareness of
culture and history.

“In addition to the cultural activities, I think the dialogue is very important as well as
working cooperatively,” she said.

Somerville-Reeves revealed that members have attended student leadership conferences in Lancaster and Harrisburg.

Computer science major, Samson Akinkunmi, 19, and his friend Chet Isiod, a 20-year-old biomedical engineer major, agreed the BSU is a good idea.

Erika Deshields, a 21-year-old psychology major, said she was never on campus at the right time to join the Black Student Union before, but she looked forward to a resurgence.

Student Erika Deshields enjoys a break in the Art Gallery. Photo by Rodnetta Morris

“I think that would be pretty awesome,” added Damarr Moon, 23, an office administration major.

Mickens did not recall how many non-black students had joined the group before at Marple, he said.

“It’s open to everybody, and you don’t necessarily have to be a black student,” Mickens said.

Mickens also emphasized the key to drawing interest in the BSU is involved promotion and speaking of the group in exciting ways to inspire people to come out.

“Generally speaking, whoever’s leading the group, they really have to be skilled
at campaigning for their organization,” Mickens said. “If you go to other schools where they have issues, you’ll see the leaders talking about their organization and having students coming out, almost like they’re politicians.”

Contact Rodnetta Morris at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

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