An individual sits beneath the Malcolm X mural on the facade of the Cesar Chavez Student Center building at SF State on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. The 27th annual celebration of the mural is planned to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21. (Benjamin Fanjoy / Golden Gate Xpress) (Benjamin Fanjoy)
An individual sits beneath the Malcolm X mural on the facade of the Cesar Chavez Student Center building at SF State on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. The 27th annual celebration of the mural is planned to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21. (Benjamin Fanjoy / Golden Gate Xpress)

Benjamin Fanjoy

Associated Students to host a Malcolm X Mural Celebration with support from the Black Student Union

February 20, 2023

SF State’s Associated Students will host the annual Malcolm X Mural Celebration on Tuesday. The ceremony comes after last year’s cancellation by AS due to growing scrutiny from various student organizations over whether it should be the organization hosting the mural celebration.

In February 2023, the Black Student Union was made aware of AS’ intention to host this year’s Malcolm X Mural Celebration on Feb. 21. BSU contacted AS for a meeting between the two organizations regarding the mural celebration, as BSU was not asked by AS to collaborate on the event.

This is not the first time BSU and AS have disagreed over the mural celebration planning. In a statement released on April 25, 2022, by BSU, authored by the organization’s former external vice president, Lee Lockhart, BSU demanded AS “step back” from the event while BSU planned its own Malcolm X Mural Celebration. 

Lockhart explained several reasons why BSU wanted AS to back out of the mural celebration. 

“On multiple occasions throughout this academic year, members of our organization have faced anti-black actions by Associated Students,” Lockhart said in the statement.

Lockhart also addressed a conflict AS had with another student organization regarding another mural celebration.

“BSU was made aware of problems AS was creating for another student organization known as SKINS,” Lockhart said. “These problems included SKINS not being able to speak freely and lack of payment for the Mexica dancers SKINS invited to their mural celebration

Because of these reasons, BSU called to cancel the mural celebration so it could host its own, and after a meeting between the organizations, AS ultimately canceled its event. BSU hosted last year’s Malcolm X Mural Celebration on May 11.

Last week on Feb. 14 BSU and AS met for a private meeting where members discussed improving communication between the organizations when planning mural celebrations.

“The conversation was really centered around letting them know that moving forward we just want to have a solution,” BSU President Victoria Bell said. “We don’t want this to happen again to any other organizations, especially organizations who have murals on this building that have to be celebrated.”

Bell said things could have been handled differently, but the organizations are focused on long-term solutions.

“We know they didn’t leave Black student input out on purpose, but it still didn’t serve us as much as it could have if they had just initially reached out to us,” Bell said. “We came prepared with a statement and some solutions, and those solutions are going to be met moving forward.”

AS President Karina Zamora expressed that the meeting gave them an opportunity to clear the air and hold people accountable.

“We all sat down on Tuesday morning, and that’s when the BSU president came to us with some asks,” Zamora said. “Some of those asks included having BSU be a part of the planning process from this point forward, which we agreed to.” 

Zamora also expressed that AS has already started the process of permanently including BSU in the planning of the upcoming mural celebration and all future mural celebrations.

“If you see the marketing materials throughout campus, you’ll see the BSU logo is on there,” Zamora said. “Other stuff they asked for was a written statement saying that every single Malcolm X Mural Celebration will begin by notifying the board of the Black Student Union, which of course we will do, and we’ll be working on that.”

Despite AS’ failure to include BSU in the initial planning of the Malcolm X Mural Celebration, Bell and the BSU want students to attend the annual celebration.

“We [BSU] will be there,” Bell said. “And even though it is still under AS, it is still an event that we would like the community to be proud of because the event is the important part, not who puts it on.”

The Malcolm X Mural Celebration will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Jack Adams Hall.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Sarah Bruno
Sarah Bruno, Copy Editor
Sarah Bruno (she/her) is the copy editor at Golden Gate Xpress. She is a senior at SF State and will be graduating in Spring 2023. She is a Print and Online Journalism major with a Literature in English minor. Sarah lives in San Francisco but is originally from the East Bay. In her free time, she loves to travel, try out new restaurants, hit up a museum or art exhibit, and drink a glass of wine while binging the latest tv show with her cat, Buffy.
Photo of Benjamin Fanjoy
Benjamin Fanjoy, Staff Photographer
Benjamin Fanjoy is a San Francisco-based photojournalist. Originally from Maryland, Benjamin moved to San Francisco in the summer of 2018 after completing his five-and-one-half year enlistment in the United States Coast Guard. He is currently studying Journalism (concentrating on Photojournalism) with a minor in Political Science at San Francisco State University. Benjamin has photographed social justice movements of historical relevance including Black Lives Matter, Stop Asian Hate, Abolish ICE, the wildfires in Northern California, San Francisco's response to Covid-19, and the immigration surge at the Tijuana-San Ysidro Port of Entry in Mexico. Benjamin has worked with The Associated Press, Bloomberg, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Standard, El Tecolote and Golden Gate Xpress.

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