It’s Wednesday night in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and Justin Mixson, a junior studying physical education, is one of several students discussing ways to improve campus and teach about black culture.
Mixson is the historian for the Black Student Union at Southern Utah University, and for him, the BSU is much more than a club.
The organization has had its ups and downs, having been disbanded several times throughout its history. However, Mixson believes the history of BSU isn’t what’s important; instead, it’s all about the progress the club continues to make moving forward.
“It’s kind of evolved to where it’s more than just us being around each other and feeling comfortable at SUU… we’re trying to reach out to the community and teach other people our culture, and try to involve other races,” Mixson said.
The BSU serves as a space for individuals to express themselves and their heritage. The organization wishes to promote that SUU students and members of the black community are more than their stereotypes.
Mixson quotes Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
For Mixson, that quote is essential to the spirit of the BSU.
“I didn’t choose to be black. I’m glad I am, and I’m glad I’m the culture I am–you embrace it and you love it. [But] I do choose my actions… We came here for a reason. We came to SUU for a reason: to get an education, try to better ourselves and try to evolve as people.”
With February comes the celebration of Black History Month–a time for honoring African American history and culture. Besides creating a safe space for the black community at SUU, a primary goal of the BSU is to teach. Black History Month is the perfect opportunity for the students on campus to hear their shouting voices.
Throughout the celebratory month, the BSU will host several events to encourage involvement. The spotlight event will be the annual BSU Step Show on Feb. 28, which will showcase dancers from local universities and high schools. Mixson believes the show will demonstrate a passion for culture and promote unity within the community.
“We have a whole month where we get to teach people about our culture and our struggle and get to express ourselves a little bit more freely.”
The BSU is open to any students wanting to learn about and share new cultures. For those interested in joining or attending BSU meetings, visit the CDI on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., or follow their Instagram page, @SUU_BSU.
Story by: Amanda Walton
Photos courtesy of Justin Mixson