D.E.I: The Black Family Barbecue

A look into the first ever Black Family Barbecue hosted by BSU.

The Black Student Union (BSU) annually hosts a wide variety of activities and events including inviting guest speakers, examining court cases, conducting sleepovers, and watching movies like Black Panther that celebrate black culture. A new addition this year was the Black Family Barbecue, an opportunity for students and families to come together in fellowship and appreciation. It was also a step forward in working towards the goals of Mitty’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiative. 

Mr. Greg Walker, BSU co-moderator, comments that the newly made barbecue was “a Black Student Union event under the umbrella of DEI, which endorses and sponsors both BSU and LSU events.” This barbecue was slightly different from other BSU events: unlike an ice cream social, a barbecue is more intimate, allowing students to catch up with old friends and forge new relationships for the year to come. Mr. Walker adds that at the event friendships formed “become more of a face instead of talking to somebody on the phone or communicating through email.”

Most people took away from this event just a great feeling of kinship and belonging while being able to have fun celebrating Black culture.

— Dr. Miel Wilson

The family barbecue was coordinated with extensive, organized planning. It was mostly student-run accompanied by adult supervision and planning. The students in attendance shared stories celebrating their culture and discussing how it has shaped their identity. Seniors Naomi Lahner and Chidubem Nwosu, leaders of the BSU, gave speeches composed of personal anecdotes and experiences about being a part of the BSU. In addition, BSU students organized games such as ring toss which were accompanied by delicious food and music that was sung by black artists and contained musical styles from Africa. Chidubem comments on the nature of BSU: “It’s a community. It’s meant to be a safe space. It’s meant to have fun with the people you are close with or get to know other people like you.”

The barbecue was an opportunity for BSU families to get together and celebrate the start of a new school year. With more than 100 RSVPs the event itself had a great turnout. Dr. Miel Wilson, BSU co-moderator, notes that “Most people took away just a great feeling of kinship and belonging while being able to have fun celebrating Black culture.”

While bringing a sense of closeness and bonding in a casual setting and allowing the attendees to be around those of the same minority group, the Black Family Barbecue illustrates how small events such as these go a long way in encouraging appreciation for the diverse cultures present at Mitty.