50 Years of BSU at Kennedy: Inside Black Student Union

By Parker Scarpa, Clarion Staff

The Black Student Union (BSU) is an on-campus organization dedicated to providing a safe place for students to express their ideas and opinions on controversial topics, as well as to learn about challenges facing African Americans in daily life. According to Kennedy records, BSU has existed on campus nearly since the school was founded in the 60’s. The earliest record of the club was found in the 1969 yearbook, making this year the club’s 50th anniversary.

Although BSU has been at Kennedy for some time, this year Club President Billie Dee Scott is focused on reforming the club to be “more consistent with meetings” and “more involved with the community.” According to Billie Dee Scott, at a typical meeting, members will present research on various topics related to black history or current events, and the group will discuss their own feelings on the topic. In the past, discussions have ranged from police brutality and the Black Panther Party to ancient African civilizations. Billie Dee Scott says “at times we trail off into other topics, but we always learn something new!”

At meetings, members also plan and discuss upcoming events that support the future of BSU. On February 15, BSU will host a Table Talk and potluck where students and parents can share their life experiences. Additionally, on February 22, the club will host its first BSU Game Night, where students can participate in games inspired by Jeopardy and Family Feud. Billie Dee Scott invites students of any ethnicity to participate in these events: “We would love it if we had more people from different backgrounds come out and attend our meetings!”

In the past, BSU has not made much of an impact on the Kennedy campus, but “This year,” says Billie Dee Scott, “we are focused on Keeping BSU united and giving back to the community”. Billie Dee Scott hopes to accomplish this by “providing students with a safe and friendly environment where they can make a change”. Students can support BSU by attending club meetings or events. Billie Dee Scott advises any students interested in “exploring different points of view” to attend a meeting and learn more about the Black Student Union. The club meets on the first and last Wednesday of every month from 3:30-4:30.

Kennedy’s BSU posing outside the JFK auditorium on Feb 6. Photo by Baylee Pang, Yearbook staff

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