By Andrew Doran
As students of education, it’s important to know our history. Not just the history of CI, but of America and the people who have shaped it. The month of February throughout America is known for “Black History Month” in which we remember prominent history makers like Rosa Parks, Duke Ellington, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. To the president of Cis Black Student Union, Almerkia Williams, Black History Month means so much more.
“We are an identity based organization which focuses on group unity and educating students about African American History and culture,” said Williams. “To me, black history month is a month of recognition and silence for the mighty men and women of color who paved the way for all of us. We recognize them for their hard work, tears and for those who died fighting for equality for people of color.”
According to CI, in the fall of 2018 only 2.2% of students at CI identified as black. While that makes up a small percentage of students, compared to 51.6% Latino/a and 27.7% white makeup of CI, Cis Black Student Union wants students to know that they fight for everyone’s voice.
“The main purpose [of CIs Black Student Union] is to be the voice for our membership and for these students that we represent,” said Williams. ”We engage with students and faculty by opening our doors to everyone, no matter their skin color or cultural background.”
As president of Cis Black Student Union, Williams has many goals and ideas in order to make sure that black students at CI are represented. ”We hope to continue working on this goal by coordinating events that strengthen cultural, social, academic and political awareness as well as assist in developing skills necessary to become a professionally organized body of students that addresses issues pertinent to the success of black students at CI.” Williams also wants to be sure that everyone is getting the same college experience.
“Our mission is to create awareness at our university, support African Americans, provide students with effective communication and guarantee a prosperous social and academic college experience.”
As the year goes along, Williams and Cis Black Student Union are hoping to collaborate more with other organizations at CI. They especially want to work with organizations that support social change and host events that are able to bring students and faculty together across campus.
If students want to 1010 Cis Black Student Union, Williams encourages them to show up at meetings on Monday from 8 – 9 p.m. While a meeting location has not be sorted out yet, she said that there will be an announcement once it happens. Anyone is able to join the organization, no matter their race.
”We don’t close our doors if you are not a person of color. You could be White, Asian or Hispanic- it doesn’t matter.”