Trinity’s Black Student Union (BSU) started the semester off with both a social event and a speaker.
Tahlar Rowe, president of BSU and senior political science major, explained the purpose of the organization.
“Essentially we’re a group that serves and represents students of color on campus,” Rowe said. “We’re not exclusive, so all ethnicities and nationalities are welcome. Our primary purpose on campus is to support and defend the African-American community and also to educate our Trinity community on our culture and introduce them to our culture.”
BSU’s first official event of the year was an ice cream social.
“The ice cream social was primarily just to have anyone who is interested from any visibility we’ve had on campus thus far, any questions after the tabling, have an opportunity to get their questions heard and have them be the first to know about things we plan and have coming up on campus this semester,” said Khaniya Russel, vice president of BSU and sophomore history major.
BSU meetings are bi-weekly and have certain topics of discussion. Their kickoff meeting was held on Wednesday, Sept. 6 and featured guest speaker Jonathan David Jones.
“He’s an activist with the local San Antonio Black Lives Matter,” Russel said. “The group that he’s speaking on behalf of is actually PRIDE. This is a speaker we’re co-sponsoring. They have a speaker series with the intent to expose the PRIDE organization to local forms of activism and how they can be active in the community. We’re happy to co-sponsor him. He’s basically going to be talking about the type of activism that he does within the San Antonio community and he will be answering any questions that people might have.”
Jones, along with being an activist in the San Antonio area, is also the policy advisor for Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
“My main goal is to get across to you guys activism as it relates to the campus, activism as it relates to the city. There’s kind of this general notion that protestesting doesn’t do anything. I am a product of protesting doing something,” Jones said.
Jones has been actively protesting since he was in school at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he was a member of their NAACP chapter. He, with other Black Lives Matter activists, led the protest of the confederate statue in Travis Park downtown.
There are two ways that students usually get involved with BSU.
“I feel like San Antonio is a place where people generally do not become engaged, but over the past three years, we’ve seen protests go from five, to fifty, to five hundred,” Jones said.
Jones discussed more of his experiences with discrimination in San Antonio. Above everything, Jones emphasized the importance of fighting against hatred, not only in the country, but locally, and of trying to remain focused on justice. Jones’ talk is just one example of how BSU connects the community.
“The easiest way to get involved with BSU is to meet someone that’s in BSU,” Rowe said. “I always think just befriending someone in the organization is the best way to get involved because that is where you gain momentum and you gain energy and excitement from one another and that just sparks more people’s involvement and support. We do have an email list where we’re continually updating people on any changes or any announcements.”
Any students who are interested in joining the email list can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We encourage people to come to our meetings,” Rowe said. “We really think about our topics of discussion. We always try to make them relevant to what’s going on and we put a lot of thought and effort into our events. When people do come out, they tend to enjoy themselves, so, even those who are hesitant at first, we encourage them to get involved. It’s really fun and it’s very educational too.”