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Editorial: Working towards doing more to celebrate Black History Month

This week, Bradley Student Senate hosted a flag raising in the Circle of Pride to observe Black History Month. To date, the only other Black History Month events have been organized by other student groups like ACBU and Active Minds, with nothing by Bradley as an institution outside of a post or two on Instagram.

During Black History Month so far, it seems as though students are the only ones who put effort into celebrating. ACBU recently hosted a spoken-word poet about mental health, women’s rights and social justice issues. Active Minds and Psi Chi put on an event that focused on the mental health of those in the BIPOC community.

But while all this is going on, Bradley has been practically radio silent on planning events geared towards the celebration of the month. Some Black History Month events may have been planned by student organizations long in advance and there may be future events or celebrations that Bradley has up its sleeve, but this could be a time where Bradley could step up and continue correcting mistakes after a statement was made back in 2020.

After the impactful racial events of summer 2020, a statement was released to the public by President Stephen Standifird where it read “At a time when we should be together to fight against a global pandemic, we are fighting against each other instead.”

This made many Black students feel unseen by the leader of the University. In response, the hashtag #BlackatBradleyU was created. It was a way for students of color to express their feelings towards the statement made and share their experiences at Bradley with the world on social media.

Three days later, the original statement was retracted and replaced with an apology and a reformed message with promises to do more to make Bradley’s campus more inclusive.

Recently, Bradley has taken many steps towards diversifying the university, including installing plots for each NPHC organization on campus, offering need-based scholarships to Peoria Public School students that are part of an underrepresented population at Bradley and renovating the Garrett Center.

However, as of 2023, it seems like there’s been a sudden roadblock and lack of engagement during this current Black History Month but there is still time for Bradley to show their support. 

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