The Decaturian

Mr. and Ms. Ebony 2018

Photo Courtesy of BSU

Photo Courtesy of BSU

Christian Mayo

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The Black Student Union was founded in 1969, originally known as For Soul Only. BSU is the oldest standing non-greek student organization on Millikin’s campus.

Since the very beginning, the Black Student Union has been working to create a more socially accepting environment on campus, while also working to give African American students support and the ability to be heard. The Black Student Union also works to educate the campus and community on black culture.

BSU is advised by the Assistant Director of Inclusion and Student Engagement Tonya Hines, and  is currently run by a leadership team of six students. Those six include, Chris Mayo, JaCarla Anderson, Kennedy Chandler, Jonathan Williams, Bekidaremaje Williams, and Jalen Eskridge.

Monthly general assembly meetings are held to discuss the issues and successes of black students on campus and the black community.

This organization will also have their very own week starting October 21st to October 27th. It is known around campus as BSU Week, which is an annual week-long event packed full of events sponsored by the Black Student Union itself.

Something important for Millikin students to know is that BSU has honorary leadership roles. Those positions are known as Mr. and Ms. Ebony. On April 21st, 2018, Jonathan Williams and Bekidaremaje Williams were crowned Mr. and Ms. Ebony 2018. Jonathan Williams is a sophomore Commercial Music major from Alton, Illinois and Bekida Williams is a senior Human Services major from Decatur.

Their involvement spans across various organizations on campus. This is an important factor to their honorary leadership positions. Mr. Williams not only studies Commercial Music but is also a part of Collegiate Chorale and Multicultural Voices of Praise. While Ms. Williams is not only a Human Services major, she is also the Treasurer of the Kappa Zeta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is also the Vice President of Finance and Administration for the Multicultural Greek Council and sings alongside Mr. Ebony in Multicultural Voices of Praise.  

Mr. and Ms. Ebony 2018 are both active members of the Black Student Union and they both value the organization for what it has done for them. Ms. Williams explains how BSU puts black students “in the spotlight” in an environment where black students might not always be well represented or heard.

Mr. and Ms. Ebony have both experienced this feeling of underrepresentation while growing up. Ms. Williams grew up in Maroa, Illinois where she along with only a handful of black students, were not given a voice. “I wanted to join organizations that had to do with black people,” said Ms. Williams when talking about why she joined BSU.

Although the Black Student Union is not exclusively for black students, the organization gives black students a sense of belonging and representation that they normally do not get at a predominantly white institution. Mr. Williams was not exposed to a black student organization in his hometown of Alton, Illinois. He is quite excited to be apart of the BSU here at Millikin. “It’s a sense of strength, oneness, [and] unity,” said Mr. Williams; something that he did not feel much of before joining the organization.

The Black Student Union’s General Meetings will take place on Sept. 5, Sept. 19, Oct. 17, Nov. 14, and Dec. 6. Any questions regarding the Black Student Union can be sent to the Publicity Chair Chris Mayo at [email protected]

To learn more about the history of the Black Student Union, please visit millikin.edu/bsu.

The purpose of Black Student Union is to serve as support to its membership and campus community that share a common interest and concern for the history and culture of Black/African American students, faculty and staff.”

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