Ball State celebrates Unity Week while BSA reflects on the importance of Black History Month

MUNCIE, Ind.(NewsLink) -- During the first week of Black History Month, Ball State celebrated
its 41st annual Unity Week to celebrate diversity on campus. Unity Week was a week of events
on campus that, according to the university's website, was meant to challenge people's
perspectives on diversity and inclusivity.

In order to create an engaging environment for the discussions on diversity, leaders of several
student organizations and campus staff set up events to show multiple cultures, an exposure
that many students may not have experienced before coming to Ball State, according to Latinx
Student Union’s President Abril Castaneda.

“You kind of get an idea of different cultures, different lifestyles, different attitudes. For me personally, I've never been exposed to so many latinos, black people, Asian Americans”, like I've never been exposed to so many like people, even Spectrum, until coming here," said Castaneda.

In 2020, several minorities felt targeted throughout the course of the year which made Unity
Week 2021 especially important, according to the Black Student Association's Vice President
Darrian Ballard.

"I just think it's good to just..., knowledge, one, for people on campus because based off 2020
alone we can see that minorities aren't really valued as much in America as the standard
person."

Just over a year ago, African American student Sultan Benson had the police called on him in
class on Ball State's campus. Nearly six months later, Black Lives Matter protests began all over
the country, proving why Black History Month is more important now than ever before.

“We want to celebrate life and then the history parts behind it... It's a celebration of
achievements for African Americans and a time of recognizing their central role in U.S. history,"
said Ballard.

While Ballard said she wasn't surprised over the events of the past year, she said it's also
helped strengthen the message BSA wants to give during Black History Month.

"Minorities recognize their place in America. We realize. So, as a community, and I can't speak
for everyone, but I'm sure we were not surprised. This was not the first time this has
happened… As far as our culture, it's not the first time we've said anything about issues of
inequality, it's in our music, it's in our movies, it's in our art, so, it was more like an 'Ah, finally'
you know, we are seen. Finally we are making some movements,” Ballard said.

If you would like to learn more about Black History Month, BSA will offer events all throughout
February with their Unity Pageant closing out the month on Feb. 28.

For any comments or concerns, contact the author at emharless@bsu.edu.

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