By: LaToya Dove
The Black Student Union hosted their annual opening ceremonies on Saturday, January 30th. Minority organizations convened to ring in Black History Month. This year’s theme, “The Re-revolution”.
The ceremonies opened with a welcome from BSU president, Dionne Higginbotham followed by the Black National Anthem lead by the Liberated Gospel Choir.
Several organizations including Douglass D.I.V.A.S., Black Lives Matter, Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, and the Mountain View Project gave presentations on people who have made great contributions to society that they thought should be recognized during Black History Month.
“You can’t understand what’s going on around you unless you understand what happened before.”
The highlight of the event was the keynote speaker, Lawrence Hamm. Hamm is a Princeton alum, activist, father of three Rutgers students (past and present), and much more. Hamm addressed the audience to encourage, educate, and bring fuel to the “Re-revolution”.
He spoke to the students about how to be in ‘the fight’, but most importantly, having patience while in the fight because change doesn’t happen overnight. Hamm’s wise words resonated with the crowd, “You can’t understand what’s going on around you unless you understand what happened before”.
Attendee Adeola Lawal was really inspired by Hamm’s address. She appreciated the knowledge that Hamm shared. Hamm asked the audience if they knew about particular events, that didn’t receive much media attention, and very few people raised their hands. “How are we supposed to fight for ourselves if we don’t even know what’s happening,” said Lawal.
Aside from speaking about the Black Lives Matter movement, Hamm talked about other issues such as high tuition rates and equality for students. Olamide Gureje was moved by Hamm’s statements on tuition.
“My biggest takeaway is to more so, stand up for what we believe in,” said Gureje. “For me personally, the tuition rates are extremely high and they continue to go high”. Gureje said she realized the importance of taking a stand against high tuition rates.
“How are we supposed to fight for ourselves if we don’t even know what’s happening?”
Hamm urged the students to not only remain informed, but stay unified.
This classy event was decorated by Rutgers Alumna Imani Johnson of Events by Imani. The soundtrack of the night included our favorite throwbacks thanks to Show Case.
At the close of the ceremony, Higginbotham thanked everyone for coming and gave a special thank to Kiyanna Stewart of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, who contributed funding to help make the ceremony a success.