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ASU's Black African Coalition used student feedback to celebrate Black History Month

Behind the month-long agenda was a team of student organizers and leaders working to craft celebrations true to the organization's mission of unification


The Black African Coalition is made up of many student associations and unions on campus unifying students of African descent.

From basketball games to cookouts, dances, poetry slams and beyond, the Black African Coalition hosted a month full of events to celebrate Black History Month. 

The BAC is a student organization that supports the University's Black students and works to bolster their college experience. This year as part of Black History Month celebrations, student leaders provided the community with traditional events and introduced new ones.

Behind the month-long agenda was a team of BAC organizers and leaders working to craft a celebration calendar true to the organization's mission of unification.

"We use our social media platforms to do polls to get responses from the students directly to see what they want," said Rachel Porche, BAC co-president and a junior studying political science. With the assistance of the Black History Month Committee at ASU, the club gathered data and feedback from the student body from previous events to determine the new event schedule.

One of the BAC's signature events, the Black Excellence Ball, was among the most popular for students this year. The event, different from academics-related events the group hosts, allowed students to come together for a formal evening to socialize, dance and celebrate together. The election of the Black Excellence Ball royalty was among one the reasons the event was a standout.

"This year especially, and last year as well, it's been more meaningful to put the ball together because there are some students that didn't have the opportunity to have a prom or a homecoming," Porche said. "The primary focus is just to recognize students in all of their endeavors and all of their contributions to the ASU community."

The ball isn't the only event that generated student turnout. The annual Poetry Explosion event hosted by the African American Men at ASU and the Mu Eta chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity invited students to perform for an audience. 

Qiasia Wright, a freshman studying criminology and criminal justice, attended the ball and said in a text message, "The ball had great music that represented different black artists. Overall this was one of the best school dances I've ever been to!"

Even smaller events, like the Black history trivia night, provided a social and educational experience for students. Victoria Webb, a BAC intern and freshman studying political science, said it was her favorite event because club members were able to discuss modern Black history as well.

"I learned that the 2022 Super Bowl was the first hip hop-led halftime performance ever," Webb said of the trivia night.

Beyond the surface level appeal of these events, the cultivated experiences provided an emotional fulfillment for Black students that they may not find elsewhere on campus.

"As Black people, we get to see the manifestation of the Black experience through historically Black colleges and universities. Being at a predominantly white institution like ASU, you have this longing to be surrounded by your people, and that need isn't always filled," Porche said. 

To bring Black History Month to a close, the BAC planned to host an art showcase where students will be able to display art in whatever medium they chose.

"The Black community is so spread out — these Black History Month events are really a great way for everyone to come together," said Shaylee Saddler, a junior studying fashion and president of the Black Artists and Designers Association.

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