With the semester now in full swing, the members of the Student Government Association are busy working on student issues and policy-driven event planning. However, being that it is February, many senators and division representatives have been focusing their efforts on education and celebration of Black History Month.
Senator of Student Affairs Stella Raffle- Wax teamed up with Division Representative for Fine and Performing Arts Jahmorei Snipes to create a photo project featuring black students. For the project, the students were posed the question, “What does blackness mean to you?” and then wrote their answers on pieces of paper, which they then held up during their photo portraits. The photos are currently up for viewing on the SGA board located in the Nugent Lounge and will be show at lease through the end of the month. On the subject of the nature of the project and the purpose behind it, Senator Raffle-Wax explained, “The project was in response to a lack of recognition of Marymount’s black community during Black History Month. SGA has not utilized our Nugent lounge bulletin board, and I teamed up with BLSA (Black & Latino Student Association) to showcase those community members. We came up with the question ‘what does blackness mean to you?’ together as a way to advocate healthy diversity – something Marymount has consistently had trouble with.”
Another event held during the month was a screening and discussion of the film Moonlight, which was planned and executed by Senator for Diversity Dana Rand in collaboration with Student Development & Activities. The discussion, held directly before the movie screening, was on the subject of black masculinity in film and was facilitated by Dr. Judith Anderson who is from Borough of Manhattan Community College.
On why she chose this movie and its relevance during the month, Senator Rand explained, “The identity of the black gay male tends to be forgotten in conversations regarding discourse. It’s a lost identity…. Moonlight captures this in the most nuanced, beautiful way. [This was] a great film to show during Black History Month; the redemption of the black man.”
The event saw a good turnout and coordinators were incredibly happy with the amount of people who came out and were engaged in the discussion held before the film.
In addition to these projects, and although, not being done through SGA, the campus club Soul Steppers also held their first annual Black History Month Student Showcase. Other Events coming up beyond the month are a silent auction that will donate all proceeds to the contingency of Black Lives Matter, and another student showcase that will exclusively feature artists, directors, writers, singers, musicians, and performers of color. Both of these events are being planned by Senator Rand and to be held in March.
One thing that the entirety of Student Government agrees on is that our institution unfortunately does not do enough in celebration of Black History Month. As campus leaders, and as representatives of the student body, we have taken it into our own hands to ensure the month doesn’t get overlooked or brushed aside.