BY CORIE LYNN
The month of February marked the beginning of Black History Month.
It’s a month meant to highlight black stories that are otherwise overshadowed in mainstream culture. Each year sees events held across the nation.
At the Fort Hays State University campus, the Black Student Union is likewise celebrating black history. Right now, the organization is planning what BSU President Danzel Major describes as a fun and informative question-and-answer event.
“The importance of reaching out to students is having the students understand our–Black–history in America,” he said. “For this event, I want to stay away from accusing and more of educating. When I say educating I mean in terms of having other students understand our–Black–history in America.”
The BSU has held similar events in the past, during which students answer questions and receive candy for correct answers. This year, they are making adjustments to accommodate COVID-19.
While the BSU has not settled on a date for their question-and-answer event, they do hope to hold it in person.
And, while the event may be fun, the information students gain from it will highlight the importance this month.
“Black History Month shines a spotlight on black individuals that did not get a fair chance to be recognized for their contribution to not only the people, but the United States as a whole,” Major said.
He explained that the current cultural climate has made people more willing to hear black stories and speak out on their behalf.
Major gave the example of the story of George Washington Carver who is well known for inventing peanut butter, but fewer people know he promoted soil conservation.
As a nation, it is important to celebrate contributions such as these and bring previously-marginalized stories to light. Major, however, sees a particular need for education on the FHSU campus, explaining that the campus does not always promote a variety of cultures.
“For example,” he said, “at my Alma Mater Nicholls State University, we have international banquets for students of different ethnicities. These banquets are meant to celebrate these cultures and highlight the people of these cultures.”
The BSU, though, serves as a place for minorities to feel safe.
“Since the organization is open to any student, non-BIPOC students and BIPOC students alike may gain insight on issues they may not be aware of through exposure to people who are not the norm here in Hays,” Major said.
With this in mind, the BSU has held events within the Hays, such as a barbeque and a Thanksgiving meal, to serve and feed different parts of the community.
“This semester, I want to build on our members’ professionalism and help them build themselves on the professional level. So I have given out information on resume building and interviewing techniques,” Major said.
He cites the members of the BSU for helping make events and outreach such as these run smoothly.
As February progresses, Major and the BSU will continue to promote education and black stories. In doing so, knowledge of marginalized histories should extend into the future.