Southern Utah University’s Black Student Union held the “Becoming a Black Ally” workshop on Wednesday evening in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Theatre to discuss racial inclusivity and allyship on campus.
This event featured numerous student speakers that represented BSU, as well as several SUU staff members.
The main topic of discussion during the workshop was allyship, which the speakers defined as the act of using one’s privilege to advocate for those that do not have it, even if the privileged individual doesn’t know how it feels to be in a different position.
“I think the most basic level of allyship is to show up,” said Dominique Erwin, president of BSU. “Representation is important. It absolutely matters, and just having just one extra person stand by your side really does helps uplift the message that we are trying to send.”
After presenting on topics such as allyship, the barriers that can interfere with it, microaggressions, and implicit biases, the speakers answered questions from the audience. The workshop became more like a group discussion than a presentation, enabling anyone in the theatre to contribute.
BSU works year round to put out events that get SUU students together to learn about cultural diversity, such as a step show, soul food events, and other social activities. This semester, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs are limited in the amount of events they can hold.
Speakers explained that performative activism is the act of participating in a cause for a good social image rather than to actually help with and care about the cause.
Though the primary focus of most BSU events is to teach about African American culture, the club also promotes and teaches inclusivity of all cultures, races, ethnicities and sexualities, as evidenced by Wednesday’s workshop.
BSU posts announcements and updates regarding the club and their upcoming events on their Instagram page.
Story by: Sasha Johnson
Photo by: Amy Ruiz, Black Student Union Historian