Each year during Black History Month, SVSU’s Organization of Black Unity (OBU) hosts an event called Black @ SVSU.
“(Black @ SVSU) is a staple piece of Saginaw Valley’s Black History Month because it is put on by students for students and about students – specifically the ones who are the most underserved in our campus community,” said Cherokee Johnson, a criminal justice junior and president of OBU.
Indigo Dudley, a general studies senior and vice president of OBU, said the event serves to empower Black students on campus by sharing experiences.
Each year, OBU students decide on a theme in celebration of the beauty of Black students and culture.
“This year, our theme is ‘THE BLUEPRINT’ and is all about showing the ways in which Black culture has become the blueprint for all things fashion, music and art that we all take part in enjoying today,” Johnson said.
The event encourages SVSU students to be themselves in order to foster an accepting campus culture. This includes spoken poems, songs, art pieces and performances by Black students.
“This year, we’re also showing support for Black-owned student businesses by raffling off items that they have graciously donated to OBU as part of Black @ SVSU,” Johnson said. “They’re easy to enter, and the raffle winners will be very pleased with their prizes.”
Due to the pandemic, Black @ SVSU looks different compared to past years.
“In years past, Black @ SVSU has been held on a night in late February in a live showcase to the entire campus and outside community,” Johnson said. “Of course, all our lives look a bit different this year, so it’s only right that Black @ SVSU looks different, too. Throughout the entire month of February, we are celebrating Black students and their culture by showcasing Black fashion, music and art, and the effects of culturally appreciating and appropriating Black culture by posting on our Instagram and Facebook daily.”
This year, Black @ SVSU will last throughout Black History Month, from Feb. 1–28.
“We showed the evolution of Black fashion throughout the decades and how Black people have been a staple in the fashion industry,” Dudley said. “We showed some of our favorites throughout history. A few genres [of music] are also being highlighted because there are so many. We tried to focus on those specific to the Black experience: jazz, soul, R&B, funk and rap.”
Students can get involved with Black @ SVSU by interacting on OBU’s social media platforms.
“It’s just an easy way to, in these times, learn more about a culture that isn’t yours or to learn about your own history,” Dudley said.
OBU will be posting on their social media pages for Black @ SVSU throughout February. “Like, comment, share and repost all that you can from OBU’s Instagram and Facebook pages to help educate others on the impact of Black culture while showing your support for the Black students on our campus,” Johnson said.
OBU welcomes all students to foster an environment that celebrates diverse cultures on campus.
“We always encourage students, Black or non, to follow our Instagram page,” Dudley said. “We always highlight the fact that, just because we have ‘Black’ in the name, doesn’t mean we accept only Black students to the RSO.”
OBU meets every other Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Microsoft Teams.