Dixie State University is celebrating Black History Month by hosting two events each week in February.
Kimberly Querales, MISA president, said they planned the events to celebrate Black excellence amongst DSU students.
DSU’s MISA and BSU work together to plan events on campus but to also make sure that all DSU students are being included.
“Although I am constantly with this group [DSU’s Black Student Union] there is always something new to learn, they have such a beautiful culture that they all share,” Querales said.
Xochile Avila, BSU president, said even though she is president of BSU she is not the only one who has an impact on Black students lives.
“It’s all of us together, we impact each other, we are always there to lean on each other, we always communicate, and we always try to bring in that inclusion aspect,” Avila said.
Avila said as the BSU they strive to keep a positive attitude, include as many people that want to be included, but most importantly they stay away from stereotypes that are put on Black students.
“There is this perception that you have to be black to a part of the BSU, this is why we tell people to come to our meetings,” Avila said. “You can learn about black culture, you can experience some of the food we have, and then there is the family aspect of the club.”
BSU impacts both Black students and non-Black students by creating a diverse community where non-Black students are able to learn about Black history and culture through different events and/or by joining the BSU club.
Avila said: “The way we impact them [non-Black students] is by making them feel included and just by having them learn about how we [Black students] go about living on campus, or just the things we go through. They also learn when we [BSU] tell things about our personal lives, and just being vulnerable to other people to allow them to feel that comfort, like we are all human at the end of the day.”
Avila’s number one goal as BSU president is to continue to be a prominent face on campus, and to make sure that all Black students know that they have a place to come home to.
Avila said: “Black History Month is a great month to appreciate Black students who know they are appreciated, but I think as BSU we appreciate them all of the time. Black History Month is no different than any other month.”
Mike Nelson, assistant director for center of inclusion & belonging, said the upcoming poetry slam is an event put on by the MIC department and is his favorite Black History Month event.
The event is in collaboration with the national council of English teachers and is used as a learning opportunity for students.
Nelson said: “The event is used to promote literacy. It’s called the African American read in, this is where we highlight poetry, Black poets, Black artists, etc.”
Querales said: “The poetry slam and the gala are celebrating Black excellence and recognizing all of their accomplishments. But I want to do that throughout the year, not just throughout this month. They deserve as much recognition as any other student when they have an accomplishment, so I think it [Black History Month] should be more than the month of February.”
Avila encourages DSU students to come to BSU’s events and club meetings learn about Black history and culture.
Upcoming Black History Month events
Feb. 15- Poetry slam at 7 p.m. in the Kenneth N. Gardner Center Ballroom
Feb. 17- Game night at 4 p.m. in the Kenneth N. Gardner Center a/b/c
Feb. 24- Night of Excellence Gala at 7 p.m. in Kenneth N. Gardner Center Ballroom