Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month With BSU

Monmouth University’s Black Student Union (BSU) is continuing to give their members a voice on campus during Black History Month.

Established in the late 1970s, the club is rooted in students’ push for intercultural awareness on campus.

Director of the Intercultural Center Zaneta Rago-Craft Ed.D., known by students as Dr. Z., said, “The Black Student Union helps to connect historically underrepresented students to community, culture, and resources all year round and has a tremendous history here on campus as university change-makers.”

Morgan Moxie, a senior music student and president of BSU, said, “It is definitely a month that is meant for celebrating black scholars, inventors, etc., and making sure people know the history and the facts about our culture. A lot of people forget that it’s also a month of celebration for us, and that’s what we’re focusing on.”

The club is sponsored many events for the month of February including guest speaker panels, a flag raising and lowering, and a movie game night on Feb. 27 featuring the 2000 film Love & Basketball.

Out of all the events BSU brings to life on campus, Moxie is most looking forward to Ebony Night. Taking place on Saturday, April 25, it is a night of socialization, stand-up comedy, spoken word poetry, and awards.

Moxie said, “Our goal for that event is to celebrate black excellence and celebrate black students on campus and give them an event that they can just feel like they’re welcomed. This is for them.”

Last year’s Ebony Night marked the first event in which Moxie took on a leading role in the club, paving the way for her preferment as club president this past September. Throughout her four-year involvement with the club, Moxie served as the head of social media, then vice president, and eventually president.

BSU has collaborated with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) to kick off events this past semester such as a poetry slam and the two-day Baking for Change Activism Project, which raised awareness for the retention and graduation rates of women of color.

Club members also took on a volunteer role during The Big Event, which took place last semester on Oct. 26.

BSU also works with the Intercultural Center to create a greater sense of inclusivity at Monmouth.

Moxie said, “there’s only so much we can do as a student organization, and having a big department like the intercultural center being there to help us has broadened the scope of what we can do. Dr. Z has done a lot for multicultural groups on Black History Month this year.”

Rago-Craft added, “The newly formed Intercultural Center plays an important role in helping to preserve and advance cultural celebration.”

The name of the organization changed in 2018 from the African American Student Union (AASU) to the Black Student Union.

Moxie said, ‘black’ is such a spectrum and ‘African American’ is a very specific group. When we changed to Black Student Union, we feel like that definitely helped because it became an umbrella for anyone who identifies as black in some way. This is your place to come”

Moxie added that she saw an increase in membership after changing the name because it offered more inclusivity.

In fact, the club has grown under her presidency as she utilizes her leadership role to encourage more students to take a prominent role in BSU.

Moxie concluded,“[The club] is important especially since Monmouth is a PWI (Predominately White Institution), so it’s not as heavily focused on. Since there’s such a small community of black students on campus, it’s really important to know they’re welcomed and being prioritized.”

PHOTO COURTESY of @monmouth_bsu Instagram