For Bradley’s Black Student Alliance, the plans for this semester were set back in June.
When the summer began with the death of George Floyd, club president Nailah Brown decided to plan a program that would give students a space to find comfort in the midst of all the chaos.
The Impact of Racial Trauma was an online program that took place on June 5.
It included Norris Chase, executive director of Bradley’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, some members of Bradley University Black Alumni Alliance (BUBAA) and two counselors from the Peoria area.
“I knew they were not expecting it, as it was during the summer, but we had to do it,” said Brown, a junior political science major. “We talked through what happened, what is racial trauma, therapy and other options that would help us during that time because it is all about being there for students.”
Because of the summer’s events, the racial equity board was formed at Bradley. President Stephen Standifird created the committee after the Black students at Bradley voiced their problems with encountering racism and hostility on campus.
“The new president of Bradley has been very open and honest with us from the beginning when we sent the letter to him, along with NAACP and NPHC,” Brown said. “He asked us to hold him accountable and mentioned that his top goal to work for during his presidency at Bradley was racial equity and diversity, and we have never had that with a president before, at least from the time I have been here.”
The racial equity board looks at retention rates, campus demographic data and plans. They’re building some strategies to implement on campus regarding equity and diversity in education, extracurricular activities on campus, clubs, organizations and resources for students of color.
“It’s an exciting time to be at Bradley right now, as students, alongside an impressive group of alums, staff and faculty members, are engaging in long-overdue and important conversations about the challenges and opportunities surrounding racial equity on campus unlike any other time I have witnessed before,” Chase said.
The Black Student Alliance meets online biweekly on Mondays at 7 p.m. The members of the organization spend some time getting to know new members by playing icebreaker games before discussing racial issues and how they have been impacted by it on campus. It serves as a safe space for students to relax and feel assured that they are not alone.
“My peers always have great energy and I feel welcomed every time,” Charles Myers, a senior marketing major, said. “We truly are a family and I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything in the world.”
Students interested in joining BSA should contact Nailah Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.