“Southern Oregon University (SOU) is an inclusive campus community dedicated to student success, intellectual growth, and responsible global citizenship.” This is SOU’s mission statement, so Black History Month holds a greater value here at SOU, a campus that thrives to be inclusive. For one particular group on campus, the Black Student Union, Black History Month needs to be year long.
“Talks in regards to issues surrounding the African-American community should happen all year long, regardless if it’s BHM. Talks shouldn’t just take place with just people of color, but between everyone,” is what Majorie Trueblood-Gamble, the director of diversity and inclusion at SOU had to say when asked the importance of the month. Instead, the Black Student Union emphasizes the importance of bringing to light issues and history surrounding the African-American community. “BHM is a sense of forgotten pride,” according to one BSU member.
The BSU meets once a week on Mondays from 5:30PM to 6:00 PM. These meetings usually consist of group discussions about current issues going on in the African-American community, upcoming events and ways to improve. I was able to sit in on one of these meetings and ask some questions. This week was not much different than previous weeks. However, they did have a short dialogue centered around Straight outta Compton because for the month of February, every Wednesday they are hosting The Black History Month Movie Series, which began last week with this film. They hold discussions the day after to talk about topics on the film. Some topics they covered about Straight outta Compton were how Hip-Hop still plays a role in the African-American community and some of the historic events that were portrayed in the movie. The other movies that will be shown are Selma, Beasts of a Nation and 42.
“Each of these films ties to issues that affect the black community directly. The main purpose is to really showcase some of the problems that the black community faces and also to hopefully start conversations about how those issues came to be and what we can do to continue to overcome obstacles and fix those issues,” according to Keysha Porter, the BSU president.
This goes right along with the BSU’s mission statement, which is “The BSU strives for academic excellence, encourages a positive image of all students and promotes cultural awareness among its members and community.” Their main goal is cultural awareness amongst all students, not just those students of color, and is still the goal during Black History Month and every day.