The Black Student Association (BSA) at William Jewell College provides an opportunity for education about black culture, history and current events through opportunities offered during the year.
BSA President Micah Williams, junior biology and Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry (ACT-In) major, shared the principal mission of the club.
“Our overall purpose is to educate the Jewell community about the history and stories behind black culture then and now, but make things fun doing it at times when we can,” said Williams.
For the 2018-2019 school year, BSA plans to stick to their mission of educating the Jewell campus by hosting events such as Jewell Kitchen, Gospel Night, and Love and Soul all of which have been well-received in past years.
Moving forward from previous years, Williams shared that BSA wants to direct particular attention to black cultural history.
“I can say that in the past, we have not done anything that delves into the history of black culture, so I want to do more of that and then move it forward to show how we got to where we are as a race now,” Williams said.
Williams discussed that this year she would like to emphasize events and activities that promote a hands-on education.
“In meetings last year, we would find articles about things that were happening around us, like in the Liberty or Kansas City area, and then we would sit and discuss them in meetings. While I feel like that is okay now and then, that is not something I wish to aim to do at every single meeting this year,” said Williams.
There are local sites of historical and cultural significance that BSA would like to utilize.
“So over here in Clay County, is the Garrison school, which is the historical site for being one of the first schools in the Clay County area that was integrated in during the 1950s. I want to bridge the gap between the Black Student Association there and get us more involved with being there. We could potentially take trips there so people can learn about the culture, so more historical things. We want to take a trip to Kansas to see the Brown vs. Board of education site,” said Williams.
Additionally, Williams said BSA would like to have laid-back events that promote community.
“We also want to keep it cool so we want to do more movie nights where people can chill and hang out. Alternatively, we might do a study hall where people can get together and study,” said Williams.
Williams emphasized that BSA is an educational and community-based organization and anyone is welcome.
“It is not just restricted to the black students because there is strength in numbers, not colors,” said Williams.
BSA serves a purpose beyond educating the community, it also provides a support system for black students on campus.
“Although the club is open to everyone, because there is a lower ratio of black students on campus than other students, it is important for us to band together and make sure to be a support system for each other because we do not know what everyone is going through on a daily basis. So just to have a foundational place for people to feel safe,” Williams said.
Williams also spoke to why BSA is an integral part of the Jewell community.
“It is also very important for change–how we can change the world around us through teaching and educating various mindsets and cultural views on how things have been done in the past around us and how we can work to create better solutions for problems today,” Williams said.
BSA has different events structured throughout the year, but Williams shared that Jewell Kitchen is her favorite event. In February, Black History month, BSA provides the campus with an opportunity to learn about black history and connect over food–most of which is cooked by Jewell students.
“I love soul food! Some of it is catered, but a majority of the time it is cooked by us, I usually make the drinks so if you ever get the kool-aid, just know it was made by me. It’s good. [Jewell Kitchen] gives people an opportunity to have something other than the caf food,” said Williams. “It is really good food, and it delves into what people in our households–like people in my household–make around holidays. On top of that, the money we raise selling tickets for the event, we take half of the proceeds and donate it. Last year we donated to the Boys and Girls club in the Kansas City area. So it is a win-win situation. You eat good, we raise money and we give back.”
Meeting times are 8:00 p.m. every Wednesday in the new multicultural room in Yates-Gill Union room 210.
Cover photo courtesy of Black Student Association.