Black Student Union Learns from Alumni and Looks to the Future

On Friday, Jan. 6, alumni guest speakers were invited to the Black Student Union holiday party. The holiday party started with members lining up to get snacks and then sitting to listen to BSU alumni guest speakers Egan Eteffa, Mya Williams, and Jonathan Wallace Myers talk about their experiences in college, life after high school, and advice overall. It ended with members asking questions to guest speakers.  

For Egan Eteffa, one of the alumni guest speakers and former co-editor-in-chief of the Blake Beat, when asked to be a guest speaker at the holiday party by Mrs. Givens, her answer β€œwas already a clear yes.” In her words, β€œIt’s honestly because I absolutely love Mrs. Givens! … She was one of the few teachers that positively impacted my Blake experience, primarily through our time together at BSU.” 

Mrs. Givens talking to BSU

β€œBSU was crucial in me having a safe space to relate and discuss with other black students about all sorts of topics facing our community,” Eteffa states. She explains that even though Black people are not a minority at Blake, Black students still need these spaces, β€œbecause there’s still all types of racist, anti-Black encounters happening both within the students’ lives and just across society. β€œHaving a designated group to convene with either to discuss issues or just to have a good time is incredibly important,” she ends.

For Williams, the main reason she chose to be a guest speaker was to come back and see Blake. β€œSince I graduated in 2020, I never really got to fully close out my high school experience. It’s always really nice to see how Ms. Givens and the club are doing these days.” Like Eteffa, BSU was a comforting space for [her], so being able to drop in one last time and feel the warmth of that room was really nostalgic for [her], Williams concludes. 

Two of the Black Student Union leaders: Lauren Ambe (back) and Hemrama Jalloh

β€œBlack Student Union is a place that lets us have deep, introspective discussions about the world we live in. It helped me put things in perspective, and challenged me to question all the expectations and narratives about who I had to be. It’s a great place to vent about societal issues that are dragging you down, and to then heal. I met people who were willing to discuss solutions to big issues, validated my experience, and just helped me feel light even when the world was heavy. I think building that community and having those conversations is important,” explains Williams.

From left: Jonathan Wallace Myers, a freshman at Loyola Marymount University.
Mya Williams, a junior at Towson University. Egan Eteffa, a junior at the University of Maryland – College Park
BSU members conversing and getting food

Myers’ answer to why he chose to speak at the holiday party is because of his passion for mentorship”. β€œI felt that because I went to a majority black school it was my responsibility to guide and empower young black people to succeed,” Myers shares. 

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