An Open Mic session let students discuss their perspectives with open minds
On Feb. 20, students were able to gather for an Open Mic event put together by the Black Student Association (BSA). The event featured spoken performances, games and discussions that let the audience think about black and African history.
Kiara Jackson, the president of BSA talked about the importance of Black History Month and how it was celebrated on campus. Though the month of February celebrates the lives of prominent African American figures, Jackson said, “I don’t think enough people know about Black History month and are aware how influential black people are in the world.”
Jackson would like to see more awareness for Black History and said that having flyers and displays around the Memorial Union would help get students’ attention. For the Open Mic session, students received an email through student announcements explaining the event and encouraging students to attend. Jackson said, “Technology always helps,” when it comes to spreading the message.
The purpose of BSA is to provide a safe place where everyone is able to learn and talk to each other respectfully. When asked whether she sees North Dakota State as a safe place where students can share their perspectives, Jackson said, “I feel like a little, but not as much.”
The BSA continues to strive to support and encourage diversity on campus and encourage students from diverse backgrounds and cultures to contribute to their organization.
In the future, Jackson would like to see Black History month celebrated and talked about more throughout campus.
“I don’t think enough people know about Black History month and are aware how influential black people are in the world.”Kiara Jackson, President of the Black Student Association
She said that some of the ways students can celebrate Black History Month are by wanting to learn and look at other cultures.
The Open Mic session started off with the question “would you sit?” showing a picture of Beyoncé and Jay-Z sitting during the national anthem during the Superbowl. Students were asked to think about whether they would sit during the national anthem and were able to talk with those around them on the topic.
Though there were students who said they would sit down to make a point, others admitted that they tend to follow what others are doing meaning they would probably stand.
After the first discussion, the audience was taught the Black national anthem and sung it together.
The audience was then tested on their knowledge of black and African history with a game of Kahoot. One of the questions asked how many countries are in Africa?
After the trivia game was over, Frederick Edwards, a graduate student and educational leader, preformed a different take on the Ten Commandments which tackled the issues on police brutality. After he spoke, he asked for a moment of silence for those who have died to police brutality.
Students were then able to share their personal stories and the event ended with a group discussion allowing everyone to discuss their perspectives without judgment and reflect on what they had heard.
Though the Open Mic session was one of the ways students could celebrate Black History Month, February will end with an Afrique performance being held on Feb. 29 at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Great Plains Ballroom. The Afrique event will celebrate African roots with dancing, singing, spoken word performances and a fashion show.