Blackout: A Celebration of Achievement
Black Student Council recognizes Black History Month with a Skybridge-length timeline
February 24, 2016
Thought-provoking and inspiring, the Black Student Council introduces “Blackout,” a 40-feet-wide physical timeline of African-American history that covered the entire Skybridge walkway.
Emphasizing both the milestones and triumphs of African-American people, it begs the question on how important black representation is to contemporary America. Named after the social media trend, Blackout acknowledges the accomplishments of African-American people and describes a history that encompasses a non-white perspective.
American history has been known to whitewash and ignore the achievements of black Americans and is why African-American history is not only important for black individuals, but for everyone. One student said,
“Most of the stuff that’s being taught [is] not really our history. It’s not really the truth, so creating more diversity of black people and society, we can learn more about ourselves.”
Blackout offers an education that is sometimes missed in history classes and gives a more in-depth perspective and positive representation of black culture.
With Blackout, people walk across the hallway and students can marvel at the span of milestones and influential figures in the black community, taking a piece of Black history month on their way to class.
President of Black Student Union Ryan Jackson explains: “It’s all about identity, that core history and everything that we are. It can be talked about. Not just students of color but for everyone. It’s not just for us, it’s about a whole of what our culture is. The hardships and the triumphs that we’ve gone through.”
The BSU are currently working on building a tenure committee in order to bring more diversity to the Pierce teaching staff. According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher education, “Nationwide, over 5 percent of all full-time faculty members at colleges and universities in the United States are black.”
The lack of diversity in Pierce is even more troubling; according to an interview with Ryan Jackson.
“Between the Puyallup campus and Steilocoom (I contacted [HR] so I’m not going off of like a random number) faculty, full-time, tenure or part-time, there are four (African-American professors). Between both campuses. Four out of hundreds on both campuses.”
One student from BSU explains, “I feel like as a student, I should have someone that represents me as well teaching me.”
With a tenure committee, BSU hopes to find potential black professionals full-tenure and to bring students an example of societal progress. A student explains that with a black professor they can feel even more motivated to accomplish their degree,
“[It’s like] look at what where I’m at, you can do the same. Look at how far we’ve come.” The student said.
BSU is not a committee solely exclusive to African-American students. Their mission for black representation is through open discussion on all aspects of black culture including African-American studies, representation in the media, and racism. People of all races are open to learn more about these topics and engage with fellow Pierce students in the topics above.
“I feel like this group inviting other people in what we are doing here will make a positive change. We need to be educated and reminded about these things and who we are. For us to have a voice again, we’ll be strong and we can change. Not that we are we are going to take over in a negative way and spread hate, but turn it around and use it positively.”