Black Residents United in Housing, or B.R.U.H. members, attended “Black Love,” a Black History Month celebration held in the towers conference center Monday, to find it was less interactive than expected.
The conference center had seven half-empty tables decorated with short profiles of prominent black persons in society. Everyone in the room participated in eating pizza and cake rather than sharing poems and artwork about black history. Resident Assistant, Jamarc Allen-Henderson, who helped curate the event, said their intentions were to create an open space to discuss black history.
“Since it is Black History Month, we wanted to provide a place for African Americans, or people of African descent to come and talk about the issues we face, especially the black struggle,” Allen-Henderson said.
Wesley Cox, vice president of B.R.U.H. said the event could have been planned better, but that his group promoted the club’s event “instead of having a duel.” It’s still a starting point.
“I support it in a sense because I feel like they’re trying, but … I feel like it could have been put on better,” Cox said. “They could have contacted other clubs that represent and support black people in advance.”
He also said the title of the event should have been rethought, and that the name “Black Love” did not reflect what the event was about.
“It’s an interesting title, ‘Black Love.’ In the black community, we say ‘black love’ is two people who love each other who are black. It’s not what this is,” Cox said.
Chloe Curry, a member of B.R.U.H., said she only found out about the event a couple hours prior from her fellow members.
“I didn’t know the event was actually happening until I got the email from B.R.U.H.,” Curry said. “I didn’t even get an email from resident housing, maybe they thought that it wasn’t important enough to send out an email.”
Tiana Dorley, president of B.R.U.H., said events pertaining to Black History Month need to be more apparent and more supported on campus.
“Especially at this campus, that is predominantly white, it is very needed because too often we are left in the shadows,” Dorley said.
Dorley said she believes black history should be celebrated throughout the year because it is a deep-rooted part of history white supremacy is trying to erase. She said every day feels like another battle because she is a black woman.
“It’s not like I want to have my guard up all the time,” Dorley said. “But I have to because if I don’t have my guard up, that may result in some kind of damage to me mentally or physically.”
Curry said when she first came to this school she presumed it would be more diverse.
“It was just a shock to me because to this day I’ll be the only black person, let alone black woman, in my class and it makes me uncomfortable,” Curry said.
She said the presence of B.R.U.H. helped her become more successful in school because it provides her with comfort.
“You’re not always gonna be at a place made especially for you, but to be successful somewhere you need to feel comfortable in your environment,” Curry said.
In the middle of “Black Love,” B.R.U.H. members left to attend their weekly meeting, which happens every Monday at 8 p.m. Before Cox left, he made sure to inform those who attended the event about upcoming history events: a Black Lives Matter memorial in front of the Village steps at 8 p.m. on Feb. 23, an open mic night and art gallery called “The Black Experience” in Mary Park lounge at 8 p.m. on Feb 24, and a 1990s themed dance party at 8:30 p.m. in the Seven Hills Conference Center.
Although Allen-Henderson said he tried to reach out to people door-to-door, he believes SF State should hold larger events like this, rather than little groups coming together to celebrate.
“I believe they should have larger events for African Americans as well as other people of color,” Allen-Henderson said. “So we can properly represent the school, not just have little pockets of awareness like this.”