Black Tuesday events struggle from lack of organization
October 17, 2008 2:18 PM
Despite movement from Black Student Union members to unite the black population through weekly “Black Tuesday” events at SF State, Tuesdays on campus don’t seem to be living up to the initial expectations because of a lack of organization within the BSU, organization members said.
The BSU borrowed the idea for the weekly events from the University of California at Berkeley’s “Black Wednesday.” At SF State the BSU has taken to the area around the Cesar Chavez Center every Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The first Black Tuesday, held on Sept. 31, seemed to meet with success.
"This is the most black people I've seen in the quad all year in one location," said SF State senior and open forum coordinator, Coby Obiesi, at the first Black Tuesday. Obiesi said he sees this as a way for black students to come together and socialize.
"We are just trying to reach the black students here at SF State and unite them," he said.
Black Tuesday was started by the BSU, however, all black organizations are expected to contribute. According to the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development Division of Student Affairs, 14 black organizations reside on this campus.
Event coordinator for the BSU, Cherish Bell, emphasized this need for black representation on campus.
"It's for all students," Bell said of the events. "But we are targeting the black community to show that there are more of us on campus," Bell said.
A lure used to attract more students to Black Tuesdays is the promise of meeting a recording artist. So far the BSU has delivered new Bad Boy artist Janelle Monáe and hip-hop artist Murs on campus. Q-Tip from a Tribe Called Quest was a special guest at their Hip-Hop and Politics event held on a recent Thursday. A visit from E-40 was scheduled for last Tuesday but failed to materialize.
Event coordinator for the BSU, Melanie Eke, 20, interns for Warner Music Group. Elke said she tries to bring artists on campus to match them with their target audience.
Members of the BSU say that some days there is structure to the events and other days they are just "chillin" like the last couple weeks.
Theophile Obenga, professor and chair of black studies said he thinks the BSU's Black Tuesdays is a good idea.
"Black students spend most of their time here," he said. "They should be out here making a presence."
Adviser and program coordinator for the OSPLD, Monolito "Lee" Twyman agrees.
"Black Tuesdays are about black students coming together at one particular point," he said. "It's not that [black students] are hiding, it's that they are scattered."
BSU members said the reason they hadn't started Black Tuesdays on the first Tuesday of fall instruction is because they weren't coordinated. The BSU hadn't started organizing themselves until after the ban on amplified events was lifted.
BSU members acknowledged that the black Tuesdays aren't very well organized but said they are still happy they put the events together.
"I think this is successful." said BSU member Omowale Tumaini. "I think we're doing a good job. It's nice when we have performers, but we aren't just about that. We are about the students."
Because of this lack of organization the BSU has failed to secure the quad on Tuesday afternoons. They have relocated to the shaded corner in front of Jessie's Hot House where they will continue to host Black Tuesday from now on.
"We don't see ourselves as being in the corner, we are supporting Jessie's," Tumaini said.
"I've seen black students at SF State that I've never seen before at these last couple of Tuesdays," he added. "Look at our numbers on campus. We represent less than five percent of the campus. I would like us to promote diversity amongst the student population, but right now we have to worry about ourselves."
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