Celebrating Black History Month

Students dance at the end of the Black History Month celebration.
Students dance at the end of the Black History Month celebration. Reniase Kim / The Watchdog

On Feb. 24, The Bellevue College Associated Student Government, in conjunction with the Black Student Union and the Africa Student Association, held an event celebrating Black History Month that included a speaker, food and live entertainment that is concluding two weeks of Black History Month activities. Tickets were $5 and were sold at the PALS center. The event provided students with a taste of black culture, including music, food and the opportunity to make connections with the BSU. The event also included raffle fundraisers in which attendees won prizes such as Seahawks tickets, beauty products, restaurant gift cards and movie tickets. “We are a place that accepts students from all backgrounds and it’s events like these that bring us all together,” said BSU Coordinator Torey Robinson.

Students perform during the celebration.
Reniase Kim / The Watchdog

The celebration was the idea of current ASG President Sam Akeyo. “When I first came to Bellevue College in 2015, I went to Reggae Night. It was really dope. It was like African night but during October. The ASA told me they weren’t doing it this year, so I thought we should do something similar. We were planning on doing that, but around December I thought it would be more appropriate, right after the election, to do an event celebrating black culture. I got BSU involved and talked to some people in ASA,” said Akeyo.

photo of he speaker
Reniase Kim / The Watchdog

“As BSU coordinator, I collaborated with ASG President Sam Akeyo to make this event happen. I was kind of responsible for getting our caterer and kind of overseeing the ideas being put out. Us and the BSU played major roles in planning this event” added Robinson.

Jedidiah Gardner gave a keynote presentation at the event. “Karyle Barnes was the contact I knew from the pastor at my church, but he ended up falling through so I asked one of my former instructors. Gardner used to teach at the north campus. He is also a local real estate CEO and a UW grad” said Akeyo.

The band Big World Breaks performed live. “They have been to BC before and performed for the MCS graduation last year in May,” said Akeyo.

Food was catered by That Brown Girl Can Cook. “The caterers catered for the BSU’s soul giving event in November,” said Akeyo.

There were some disagreements on exactly what the event should be like. “We also were cutting it close on due dates with the snow storm that happened a few weeks ago. It definitely put a burden on the process,” added Robinson.

In addition, on Thursday, political science and sociology instructor David Spataro hosted a talk on police stereotyping. The talk discussed Michelle Alexanders’ book “The New Jim Crow” and statistic about rates of drug use and rates of arrest. The presentation concluded that because of monetary incentives, police target minorities with unfair search and seizure and arrest. According to Spataro’s presentation, a higher percentage of Euro-Americans use marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogenic and alcohol than Afro-Americans, but arrest rates for Afro-Americans are much higher. Due to high student attendance numbers at the event, the event was moved from room C120 to room D104.