The MultiCultural Center hosted its second annual Black Flea Market in the MultiCultural Center lounge on Thursday, Feb. 15. 

The Black Flea Market hosted approximately 130 students, UCSB staff and members of the Santa Barbara community. Nexus File Photo 

The Black Flea Market hosted approximately 130 students and staff from UCSB and members of the broader Santa Barbara community. Eight vendors set up their wares in the MultiCultural Center (MCC), offering their handmade arts, crafts, food and jewelry for sale. The Office of Black Student Development (OBSD) and Santa Rosa Black Scholars co-sponsored the event. 

Fourth-year communications and sociology double major, MCC programming assistant, OBSD marketing and communications intern and Santa Rosa Black Scholars Resident Assistant Marina Habib organized the event. Her goal, building off last year’s market, was to ensure the event celebrates and supports the Black and other minority communities at UCSB. 

“I wanted to have something that was free, as food insecurity and finances are something that we [students] struggle with. We’re having an event that has good, free food and items … because students deserve to be celebrated,” Habib said. 

Attendees were served free refreshments and soul food catered from Caribbean Haven, a restaurant in Ventura specializing in Caribbean and Filipino cuisines, including Jamaican patties and curry soup. 

Goodie bags were offered to all attendees, who chose from a selection of items ranging from sunscreen and chapstick to Black hair care products, bonnets, headscarves, African washcloths and waistbeads. 

“The main takeaway [from the items] — it’s cultural, it holds significance and value … [we’re] bringing different things that are ethnic into the space, especially with the food,” Habib said. 

OBSD Coordinator of Black Student Life Julianna Swilley emphasized that the market was not limited to any attendees. 

“[We] understood that not everyone could afford to support our vendors financially and didn’t want to leave anyone empty-handed,” she said. “We decided to give attendees items that would promote wellness and self-care.”

Chef Guidance Moon, who runs Momma’s Soul Food with their family in Goleta after relocating from Louisiana, sold a variety of soul food, including dishes such as cornbread and baked macaroni and cheese.  

“We were immediately interested because we haven’t seen a lot of people of color since moving here,” Moon explained about vending at the event. “They decided to bring us on, so we’re just so excited and happy to be here.”

To Moon, whose 15-year-old son helped run their booth, the Black Flea Market was significant in its community building. 

“It means so much to know that when he decides to go to UCSB — hopefully — there’ll be a supportive community here for him,” Moon said. “We haven’t seen a lot of people that look like us, but seeing this tonight makes us feel a lot more at home, a lot more welcome and in touch with our community.”

Moon emphasized the need to celebrate the creativity and accomplishments of Black vendors through outlets like this market and general visibility. 

“Black people are so creative, and I think that we don’t get a lot of representation. We need this on a bigger scale every year … we need the outlet, the platform and the people to support small businesses, because the prices are good and it’s quality stuff,” Moon said. 

Habib, who sold prints of her artwork at the market, highlighted the collective space of the event as a part of broader Black History Month efforts.

“Just to be surrounded in a place cultivated by joy, being in community with one another and seeing people that look like you be recognized … receiving free items, receiving good vibes, being able to showcase your work and get people to come up and give you the praise you deserve … it’s a chance to all get together and celebrate such a beautiful month,” Habib said.

Swilley viewed the event as a success in the uplifting Black programming that the OBSD and MCC offer, both year-round and during Black History Month.

“It’s important to highlight the amazing work and talents of the Black community here at UCSB,” she said. “In the future, I hope that this event will continue to grow and we can support more Black artists and entrepreneurs.”