Celebrating Successes Rather Than Trauma During Black History Month

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Pacific University’s Black Student Union (BSU)  will be recognizing the talents of influential Black athletes on campus for Black History Month (BHM) by decorating Stoller Center with posters of Black athletes.

The BSU originally planned to coordinate a BHM themed dodgeball game open to all students, but due to conflicts with other sporting events on campus, the dodgeball game will be postponed until March. For the month of February, one way BSU is celebrating Black History Month is by decorating the Stoller Center with posters of pioneering athletes. The co-presidents intended to promote successes rather than traumas with this project. 

Chiffon Noble, a Senior studying Sociology and Marissa Hall, a senior majoring in Music Therapy are the co-presidents of the Black Student Union. Both Noble and Hall joined the club back in 2018 when they arrived at Pacific. 

“The Black Student Union is a big conglomerate of a whole bunch of different things and our meetings are intended to be whatever our club members need the meeting to be,” said Noble. The co-presidents see the club as a safe space where Black students can feel comfortable, relate to others at Pacific, and voice the concerns they may have.

Some of the athlete posters the BSU will recognize include Sha’carri Richardson, Bubba Wallace, and Kobe Bryant. Richardson is an Olympic track and field sprinter. Wallace is one of the only African-American Nascar drivers. The late Bryant grew to become an NBA superstar and business mogul. Despite their differences, all athletes have shown passion in advocating for America’s black communities with the platforms they have.  

“We were very intentional about the decorations because we really didn’t want it to be about trauma,” said Noble. “We all know about the traumas in the heroic stories of MLK and Rosa Parks. We just want to recognize the more recent stories of black excellence because we are tired of the trauma.”

The co-presidents would accredit the dynamics of the BSU for the strong friendship they’ve created, along with the other relationships they have developed within their club. 

“I’m a person that takes my concerns or problems to BSU because I feel comfortable enough to share that,” said Hall. “On campus I don’t want to say anything, so these are the people that push me to feel like I actually have a voice.”

For Senior student-athlete Robert Wood, the BSU has given him a chance to belong to a student group independent of his commitment to the football program. “The BSU is an escape,” said Wood. “It feels good to connect with other black students I can relate to and that also want to improve the experience of black students at Pacific.”

The Black Student Union meets every Thursday evening in Scott Hall’s Multicultural Center. — Noah Steverson


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