A group at St. Thomas University has formed to raise awareness around racism, discrimination and the prejudice black students face on and off campus and also bring about a sense of community.
The Black Students’ Association was formed in August 2018. Third-year student Dorcas Tshimenga is one of the founding members and president of the association.
As a member of the STU Student Union with a double major in political science and human rights, Tshimenga said advocacy and creating change is her passion.
“One of the biggest things we try to do is raise awareness of racism, discrimination, prejudice and any other forms of dangerous stereotypes that will take place on and off campus towards black students.”
Tshimenga said the association is important because it allows black students to have a voice on campus and talk about issues that matter to them.
“It also allows black students to promote allyship and togetherness. A lot of black students are international, so BSA helps to bring a sense of community to campus.”
This year, the association’s focus is on Black History Month, which takes place in February. They want to create events, host socials and lectures.
David Effiong, a third-year economics major, is another founding member of STUBSA and is looking forward to future plans of the association.
Effiong said there are approximately 40 members who are a part of BSA and he hopes to see those numbers increase soon by reaching out to students in the upcoming year.
“I’m really excited to see that we are taking action to get the recognition we deserve and that STU is also backing us up. Black student associations exist within most universities, so I believe this is a massive step for STU.”
Sydona Chandon, STUSU’s International Student Representative, is the third founding member of STUBSA.
“I am proud that as a black student, I am able to be a part of something that represents who I am as a person. This is more than just any other association, this represents the black community, and all the history and struggle we have encountered as a people.”
Tshimenga said the BSA is making plans to collaborate with outside organizations such as other universities that will help support the association and black STU students.
“This is a way to make sure that black students have that platform and microphone, so their voices are heard on campus.”