In preparation for Black History Month, I spoke with Kyndal Poore and Jerald Bush, two leaders of the HSE Black Student Union, about their plans for the February celebration. Kyndal, the club’s president, shared the special programming they’ve planned for Black History Month and the goals of this student organization.
HSE Black Student Union (BSU) formed five years ago, and since then has grown from around 10 members to over 100. The primary goal of the organization is to educate students on Black culture and create a close-knit community for Black students of all ages. The club also has a mentorship program that pairs elementary students with high schoolers to “give the kids an African American role model” says Kyndal. Outside of the mentorship program, the club often hosts educational meetings for students of all races to come together and learn more about the Black experience.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the club has planned three unique activities to celebrate Black History Month.
The first is a month-long social media campaign called “My Black Is”. This campaign is an opportunity for members to share how they define their culture. This campaign will take place on the club’s Instagram, @hsebsu, so you can follow along as the students explore what their culture means to them.
The second initiative challenges members to bring a non-Black friend to a BSU meeting. The club generally holds this event annually and Kyndal says it allows students “to bounce ideas off each other and say what’s on their mind.” This meeting will also focus on educating non-Black students on how to be an ally and advocate for racial equity. BSU officers have compiled a list of resources on advocacy and allyship that will be shared with meeting participants.
The third event is a virtual scavenger hunt. This gives students a chance to have a fun competition and also learn about Black history. Students will be asked to race around their homes to be the first to find an object related to Black history. A trivia competition will also be part of this virtual event.
Going into Black History Month, it is extremely important for all of us to take a moment to respect the Black experience and educate ourselves on Black culture. An important step in becoming an ally is to recognize what you don’t know and to actively educate yourself on Black history and the current challenges facing the Black community.
When asked about what Fishers residents can do to be better allies, Jerald said, “simply learn a little bit more about what it means to be Black,” and to “stick with it.” During Black History Month take the time to read some of the resources provided, follow the activities of clubs like HSE Black Student Union, and have discussions with friends and family about modern racism.
Cassidy Robertson is the Community Engagement and PR Intern for the City of Fishers and has been with the city for four months. She enjoys shopping and eating local in downtown Fishers, and in her spare time, she loves working on puzzles and reading a good book. She also enjoys playing with her three dogs and loves watching Fishers continue to develop both as an economic and social hub.