Patrice on the BSA’s current initiatives:
Currently, Black Student Alliance for the second half of the school year is working to put a lot of emphasis on getting students focused on learning about history and different social movements, especially since the recent events in Ferguson and Palestine as well. Just getting students more aware about how black students have long been instrumental in various social movements in history.
This semester we are partnering with the Martin Luther King leadership committee and were holding a workshop on Monday for the leadership conference that will take place in the union. We will basically be looking at student activism and the role that college and high school students have played in making social movements like the black power movement possible.
How does MLK continue to influence The Black Student Alliance and yourself?
MLK is one of the first political and social figures I learned about, especially associated with Black history in elementary school and middle school. Just that basis and foundation of knowledge of MLK is very important for people to have. Personally, learning about the more radical side of MLK has been more impactful on my life and was instrumental in shaping my beliefs about non-violent practices and how you truly reach out to your community. Simply learning more in depth about him than just our broad view of him we get in school.
His legacy of inspiring people to fight for what you believe in has impacted the BSA over the years since our founding in 1969...One year after MLK was assassinated. His death and other black social movements at the time created an environment where the BSA needed to be formed.
Does the BSA get particularly involved or inspired around MLK day?
For the BSA, and me, our commitment to social justice issues and serving the community is a year round thing. There is more emphasis on social issues and race issues because you have more people who want to be involved because of the holiday. But, we are always involved.
Patrice on learning about the women in MLK’s life:
For me, learning about the women of MLK’s life has been just as inspiring if not more inspiring than just learning about MLK himself.
Why are these issues that MLK fought still important?
Although we have progressed with certain laws like the voting rights act and being able to attend predominantly white institutions and things of that nature, we still live in a society where people are close-minded. They’re not totally aware of the privileges they have. Just thinking about people like Martin Luther King, he can be the example for people to check their privileges and see that although we have made strides, things are not as great as they could be.