BLSU works beyond campus to promote activism

Jefri Nazri

Creative Editor

“Before joining the BLSU, I was not interested in my cultural background. After doing different events such as the Hispanic Heritage event, it changed my entire mindset. I’ve learned about so many other cultures, ethnicities, and important people who contributed to society,” said individual studies major Joseph Colon, a member of the Black and Latino Student Union (BLSU).

The BLSU promotes the education of Black and Latino history and culture through social, educational, and community service activities.

“We do a few events each year. We do one for Hispanic Awareness Month, we do one for Black History Month, and we do one for Women’s Month. We also do a holiday event where we talk about different holidays like Three Kings and Kwanzaa, as a kind of celebration to the end of the semester,” said Jessica Gilbert, co-advisor to the BLSU Club.

Members of the BLSU often raise awareness by taking part in campus events. “BLSU members always attend Leadership Workshops sponsored by the Student Activities Office and engage in the topic discussions,” said Gilbert.

The BLSU also collaborates with other clubs on campus, such as the Criminal Justice Club and the Pride Alliance, in organizing some of their events when they invite guest speakers. “When you work with other clubs, you’re supporting, encouraging, and spreading the word for each other. All these different clubs have great ideas. It creates a learning opportunity for everyone,” said Gilbert.

One of the ways the BLSU helps the community is by volunteering at the YMCA. “Some of our BLSU members mentor junior and high school students at the YMCA. We’ve had three students get nominated for the Capital Region’s YMCA Black & Latino Achievers award,” said Gilbert.

“I’ve done things that I couldn’t imagine doing before, from planning events to volunteering at the YMCA. Coming out of high school, I didn’t have the “helping hand” mindset. I’ve made a ton of new friends because of the BLSU, but most importantly, the BLSU has taught me that I should be proud of who I am,” said Colon.

“All students are welcome to join the BLSU and attend our events. We have many students from different ethnicities. There are still a lot of issues that surround the Black and Latino community that need to be addressed, and one of our goals is to spread awareness,” said Gilbert.

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