BSU: Giving Students a Space to be Themselves


Maneeya Leung

According to senior Nedwa Abdi, one of the restarters of the school’s Black Student Union, BSU’s purpose is for black students to build a community.

She adds that the point of BSU isn’t necessarily to educate others about racism or complete any projects. “BSU is about taking a step back and just being able to be a teenager in high school.” 

In the club, Abdi feels like black students have the chance to be themselves. From her own experience with the group, she says, “I didn’t have to code-switch. I didn’t have to tone down my blackness. I didn’t have to be less excited because people might see me as aggressive or something, it was just chill. I got to be myself.” To her, the club gives a unique space where other students can feel the same way.

BSU used to exist a few years ago before it was discontinued, and Abdi had been thinking of restarting it for a while. It wasn’t until the summer of 2020 that she actually followed through with plans, however.

That’s because Abdi was tired from the lack of understanding from non-black peers regarding everything happening in the summer, with the protests and racial tensions. “It’s just so exhausting to constantly have to be defending your existence. It’s kinda like, ‘do I have to be doing this all the time?’“ 

With BSU, she doesn’t have to. “During the summer, if we had a space like this, I would’ve been so much calmer and not as stressed out,” she thinks.

In September, the group had their first introductory meeting via Zoom. “It went pretty well. It was super chill and fun,” says Abdi. 

After Abdi and others explained what BSU was, everyone got to know each other through some icebreakers and sharing their feelings about the summer’s events. Then, they discussed what they want the group to be in the future. 

Right now, members can expect monthly meetings. Exactly how those meetings might look isn’t certain. “We’re still figuring things out in terms of big events,” says Abdi, noting that it was harder in times of Covid.”We want to make sure that everything’s safe and that no one gets sick or anything.” 

They hope to do an outdoor social and other possible in-person meetings, but if all else fails will continue to meet virtually. They’re also holding a merch design contest, where members can submit ideas for t-shirts. 

In reality, reminds Abdi, the club is whatever members want it to be. No matter what the club does in the future, they want to hear the ideas of everyone.

For anyone still not sure about joining, there’s no commitment, so “just do it,” says Abdi. “I’m really excited to get to know everyone.” 

Students interested in joining can fill out this form here: