By Steven Adamo
The ELAC Black Student Union club, which returned earlier this semester after being inactive for more than a decade, is looking to recruit new members.
“We are looking for students who are willing to fill those leadership positions in the club,” LaQuita M. Jones, assistant professor of Sociology said. “We are seeking individuals who have a passion for not just black culture, but inclusivity.”
In order for a club to be chartered at ELAC, there needs to be a minimum of five to seven students; five to serve on the executive board and two to serve as delegates. If the seven-student minimum is met, Jones will be the adviser and advocate for the BSU club.
“When there’s a collaborative effort, when you start to see the fruits of your labor manifested in activities or higher membership… I think that the work you have to put into the club, you feel rewarded for it,” Jones said.
Golden Sheard, president of the ELAC Students for Political Awareness club, would like to head the BSU club but can’t because she already heads ESPA. Sheard has been working all semester on making the BSU a reality on campus in order to help provide representation of black students on campus.
Sheard said that the number of students who transferred to a UC from ELAC last year was about the same number of African-American students at ELAC in any given year. “Why is it that we can put that much emphasis behind 400 students in this light, and in another light say ‘well, it’s just 400,’” Sheard said.
“Having African-descent is just one facet of who we are, and while we want to have an inclusive space, we don’t want that to be all that we are,” Sheard said. “We should be able to be president of a political science club, vice president of a photography club and still be able to have a BSU.”
Interest in an ELAC BSU began at the end of Black History Month earlier this year when guest speaker Melina Abdullah, chair of Pan-African studies at California State University, Los Angeles and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles chapter, asked the student audience if a BSU existed at ELAC.
A BSU on campus hasn’t been active in over a decade. The first mention of a BSU at ELAC is from the March 27, 1968 issue of ELAC Campus News. In the article, the BSU held a mock funeral for the word “Negro.” At the time, ELAC BSU members wished to be called “black students” or “Afro-American” students instead of “Negroes.”
Brandon Aguilar, an ELAC student who is interested in becoming a member of the BSU, was one of the students who volunteered to get the club going. “I feel like at school, people just hang among their own group. I (want) to see a multicultural center and I think this club could help,” Aguilar said.