As part of its Black History Month celebrations, UCSB’s Black Student Union recently launched its annual student outreach program, inviting students from underprivileged areas to explore campus,
The BSU’s outreach program, which continues for the duration of the week, is designed to extend opportunities in higher education to low-income and underprivileged high-school-aged teens. It is one of the many campus events – from lectures to a film festival – planned by the BSU and other organizations to commemorate Black History Month.
BSU Co-Chair Morgan Twiggs-Brandon said the organization’s outreach program is among the highlights of its Black History Month offerings.
“Over 70 primarily African American and minority students from 11 different high schools in underprivileged areas will be brought by busses to visit and stay at the UCSB campus,” Twiggs-Brandon, a third-year English and black studies double major, said. “It’s a way of giving [students from] underprivileged areas a chance to visit this campus.”
In addition to the annual outreach program, Twiggs-Brandon said her organization has planned a variety of other events throughout Black History Month. A “Wild ‘N Out” improvisation show is set for Feb. 21 from 12 to 6 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center, and the month will draw to a close with a ceremony scheduled for Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in Theater Dance 1701.
“The closing ceremony is going to revisit everything [the BSU] has done over the month,” Twiggs-Brandon said. “It’s going to have a skit at the end called ‘We’re Still HERE!’ that embraces and uplifts both Black history and the Black community.”
Upcoming events organized by other campus organizations include an appearance by Dr. Robert D. Bullard, who will speak on the environmental justice movement in the MCC this Thursday at 4 p.m., and the Black History Month Film Festival, presented by the NAACP on Feb 24 at 5 p.m. in the MCC Theater. Students are also invited to attend the “Battle of the Orgs!” presented by Akanke, an African American woman student support group, on Feb. 28 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the HUB.
Along with the chance to attend various events, Chinedu Unaka, a fourth-year sociology major, said Black History Month is an opportunity for people to contemplate how African-Americans have impacted American history.
“Black History Month for me is a time when everyone as a whole appreciates what blacks have done for America and appreciates the black struggle in America,” Unaka said. “It’s definitely important to always have an understanding of Black history because its part of American history as a whole.”
Twiggs-Brandon also noted that Black History Month marks a time to not only reflect on African-American achievements, but also to understand the individual actions which drove them.
“It’s a time to reflect on the different sacrifices that were made not just by the famous blacks, but the hundreds of blacks who sacrificed so we could be where we are today,” Twiggs-Brandon said. “It just reaffirms the hundreds of thousands of black people who made sacrifices to get the black community where we are today.”