Black Beauty

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Students Celebrate Black History Month

By Darla Howell
Celebrating Black History Month at a predominantly white institution is sometimes a little difficult. Honestly, there aren’t a lot of Black students enrolled in this small liberal arts college, and so celebrating the beauty of blackness can feel small in comparison to large schools and historically Black colleges. Sometimes feeling like nothing more than a quiet display of Brown kids scattered across Occidentals campus, we chocolate colored students often feel voiceless. But this year, our voices were heard. Literally. Oxy’s Black Student Alliance led a march through campus vocalizing and showcasing their beauty and their blackness. On February 1st at 11:30 am, about 25 Black Oxy students met in front of Wylie Hall wearing all black. With posters and chants ready they marched through the quad proudly screaming, "Say it loud! I'm Black and I'm proud." This march was only the beginning of a month filled with celebrations of Black History. 
Later in the month both members of BSA and allies were encouraged to sign up for BSA’s volunteer day. Together, volunteers helped out at the Good Shepherd Center, organizing clothes and toys for homeless children and families staying at the shelter. 
BSA also invited Kumba Lynx (a spoken word team based out in Chicago) to come perform at Oxy. The performance was quite moving and addressed issues of Black hair, microaggressions and overt racism in Chicago's streets and the overall beauty tied to blackness. 
The next day, the performers hosted an open mic night outside of the library. So many students came out to perform their pieces combining their singing and spoken word skills. Many Members of BSA’s Eboard also performed. Specifically, Dominique Wright read an original poem about her understanding of beauty. Her poem was quite moving and her words seemed to truly resonate with the audience. 
These are only a few of the events that have been scheduled and executed this month. I am looking forward to seeing the newly released film Black Panther with my fellow BSA members and African Student Association. Also, BSA is proudly hosting its annual Apollo Night (an imitation of the actual Apollo night) on February 23rd. This event will be the perfect end to Black History Month. I mentioned before, being Black in an institution filled with white is hard, but when we Black and Brown beauties come together the journey through campus doesn't seem quite tough. In fact I feel proud. Say it loud! I'm Black and I'm proud!