Black Student Union discusses ways to expand upon activism in honor of MLK day


Photo credit: Amelia Mathis

Black Student Union (BSU) held a meeting on Thurs. Jan. 14 to speak about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his tactics during the fight for social justice in the ’60s. MLK Day falls today, on Jan. 18.

By Grace Doyle, Sports Editor

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day approached, the Black Student Union (BSU) held a meeting to discuss Dr. King’s activism within the Civil Rights movement. On Jan. 14, BSU facilitated a conversation about the tactics that Dr. King used during the Civil Rights movement and how those can be expanded upon today as the national holiday honoring him on Jan. 18 is celebrated.

Thursday’s meeting began with a presentation about Dr. King and a clip of an interview he gave just months before his assassination, where he spoke on his peaceful protests philosophy.

“We wanted to reflect on what [King] did and bring that to the Archer community […] and make sure we were informing everyone because I know so many girls celebrate and recognize the day but don’t actually know what they are celebrating,” BSU Executive Board member Lexi Tooley (’22) said.

The students in attendance were subsequently split into two breakout rooms. BSU leaders prompted discussions with the following key questions: What are the lessons we are taking from Martin Luther King Jr. & the Civil Rights movement and implementing them into our individual and collective activism today? How is our generation expanding beyond the tactics used during the Civil Rights movement of the ’60s?

Within the breakout rooms, students had the opportunity to discuss the questions. The discussion ranged from personal anecdotes to calls for action.

“Something that validated my opinion was the idea of people using social media as a go-around for performative activism,” sophomore BSU member Zoe Griffin said. “There are so many ways you could actually do something that helps people instead of just putting ‘BLM’ in your bio and just leaving it at that.”

Students in attendance spoke on both national and community implications about Dr. King’s ideologies. They emphasize the effort and change that they want to see within Archer.

“Something that I felt could have been expanded on was the audience. I feel like there was definitely room or more questions could have been asked but the major point was the fact that so very few people in the grand scheme of Archer [came],” Griffin said.

By using Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a jumping-off point into the struggles Black students face at Archer, some conversations touched on how to bring his tactics into the greater community.

“Obviously at Archer, we want to be non-violent, so it’s about figuring out by using his methods how we can create change that is needed on campus and in order to inform girls who don’t know everything about it,” Tooley said. 

Another lesson students took from the movement led by Dr. King was the organization of demonstrations. 

“We felt like now, with planning protests and everything, it’s just the level of organization that isn’t there,” BSU Executive Board member Ruby Williams (’22) said, “so we think that was something we need to take from him and implement into our activism: to be more organized and meticulous with our planning.”

While BSU meetings draw some students, the club is hoping to have bigger turnouts for expansive education. They continue reaching out to the Archer community through meetings and presentations.

“Even though we did have such a great turn-out if it was every Archer girl […] I think we would have been able to see more change,” Tooley said. “I know Black students have been trying to get certain classes and certain things happening and it’s really important to have a community of people behind them.”