Written by: Tiffany Baskerville
The Black Student Union (BSU) of Montclair State University held a table event called, “Extraordinary Women That Made It Possible” on March 14. Located in the Student Center Lobby was a table that displayed picture cutouts of African-American women from Madam C. J. Walker to Maya Angelou. The cutouts as they were turned over displayed a little piece of historical information on each woman.
As March is known for being Women’s History Month, the BSU wanted to use their platform to get students on campus involved in learning about the contributions that African-American women have given to the progression of this country’s women’s movement.
The BSU has had a long history at Montclair State during the civil rights movement in 1965. It was established to protect the interest of African-American students and assist as a vital force in preserving diversity, educational integrity and equality.
Jabari Magwood-David, a sophomore justice studies major and class 1 representative for the BSU, discussed his hope for the event as the students read the cutouts of women and their history.
“Today our purpose is to promote cultural awareness and mutual respect for women of color this women’s history month,” Magwood-David said. “Our hope is that more students leave our table knowing just a little more about historical figures such as Angela Davis and Shirley Chisholm.”
The BSU organization as explained by Magwood-David is open to anyone from any background who wants to learn more about the experience of the lives of African-Americans as well as the strong culture that has transformed the world.
The event which was held from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. had an influx of students and even Montclair State mascot Rocky the Red Hawk as students took pictures to document their experience.
Michelle R. Alvizo, a freshman and political science major, expressed her interest in learning more about the BSU.
“I am so proud that Montclair State has allowed certain organizations to voice their knowledge on important aspects such as this,” Alvizo said. “I am from Spain and I honestly know little about the history of African-American women and their contributions in this country.”
Alvizo, who has decided to make her future about pushing female equality in politics, could not contain her excitement on the developments being made to empower and inform young women of all backgrounds on campus.
“I just feel so empowered that this organization has went out their way to teach the students on campus about the wonderful strides that have been made and will continue to be made,” Alvizo said.
During its 51 years at the university, the BSU has continuously transitioned and grown to meet the needs of Montclair State’s community of students. Briana Matthews, the BSU president and senior sociology major, discussed her views and hope for the future of the BSU.
“History helps us learn and understand who we are,” Matthews said. “However, when we don’t know our own history, our power and dreams are instantly diminished which is why it is important that we recognize these African-American women who have paved the way for students like myself to dream and know that we indeed have contributions to add to our society and community.”
As a vibrant group of young African-American students, the BSU wants to promote educational awareness and culture to a wide audience of students on campus. Their vision for the future is to promote black intelligence, talent, wisdom and love to a community of students and staff from all walks of life.