On Feb. 18, the Black Student Union traveled to the 22nd Annual Black Solidarity Conference at Yale University. Students of the Black Student Union traveled to New Haven, Connecticut on Feb. 16, and returned three days later.
“The Black Solidarity Conference at Yale is a completely student-run annual conference held in February,” said Oriana Estrada, Retention Specialist in Multicultural Services. The Black Solidarity Conference is the largest undergraduate conference held at Yale University. Created by Yale students, over 700 graduates of different backgrounds and ethnicities are invited to attend BSC to discuss issues pertaining to the African diaspora every year.
According to the Black Solidarity Conference website, through “discussions, panels, networking, and social gatherings, students from across the country analyze issues affecting the Black/Afro-Diasporic community and explore solutions that can be implemented on their own college campuses.”
The theme for the 2017 BSC is “A New Dawn, A New Day: Promoting and Protecting Blackness in the Digital Age.”
At the conference, the students learned how technology affects Black people across the diaspora through transforming narratives and raising awareness. During the weekend, students discussed the role of social media in “multidimensional Blackness in the digital age.” The events took place all over Yale’s campus, with the main hub being in the Afro-American Cultural Center.
At the conference the students were able to “dialogue, network and learn from other students across the US who have similar interest in addressing issues within the black/African diasporic community,” said Estrada. “Students attending this conference are committed to address these issues and injustices and will get the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest speakers, professors, and students from across the nation.”
During the weekend, BSU students and other attendees were able to listen to many talks that occurred around the campus. The talks ranged from “Changing the ‘Mainstream’ Narrative,” “The Power of Black Twitter” and “Building Social Capital to Discover Vocational Purpose.” HBO actor Jay Ellis also gave a talk on his experiences as a person of color and how HBO tries to convey diverse experiences into their shows. Talks such as “Students Leading the Way: A Discussion on Student Activism” taught students how to be active in a college community and make differences.
Additionally, there was a career fair with career workshops.
Estrada said that the conference allowed students to “further develop their knowledge, intellect, leadership, and passion for social justice.”
The Black Student Union’s mission is to educate and raise awareness about black student issues to students and members of the Bellevue College community. BSU has already been actively raising awareness this year, with Black Lives Matter Week that was held at the beginning of the winter quarter.
With the experience they gained from the BSU conference, students will be able to “enrich our campus with the knowledge and experience they gained and through their continued participation as movers and shakers on this campus,” said Estrada. “There are a host of events happening this month put on by the BSU and you can expect to see this continue for the remainder of the year.”