The Black Student Union hosted its annual Kwanzaa Banquet on Saturday, Dec. 7 in the Library Concourse. This year’s theme was “I feel comfortable in black” and the banquet was particularly significant because it marked BSU’s 30th anniversary.
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration that celebrates African American heritage in the United States. On each day, one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa is discussed and one of the seven candles are lit for the celebration. This holiday is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.
Gabriella Felipe is secretary for BSU and explained why she feels it is important to have this event on campus to celebrate Kwanzaa.
“I would say that there are two reasons why Kwanzaa is an important celebration on our campus,” Felipe said. “The first is that it is a night of unity and celebration of culture for black students. It is also an opportunity for students who are unfamiliar with the tradition to experience something new.”
The event was a new experience for some students, including senior Heather Dunning. Her organization was extended the invitation to come to the event so she and her sisters were in attendance.
“I don’t know much about it and I wanted to come check it out,” Dunning said. “This event enables people who don’t know about this holiday to learn about it, it’s a good way to bring everyone together regardless of this being part of their culture or not.”
Senior Madison Lee said she attended the banquet because of a diversity assignment given to her in her senior seminar class and she felt the event was a good event to write the assignment.
“I think it’s important to learn about all cultures and diversities and getting to know all types of students from different backgrounds,” Lee said.
She stated that this is one of the better events on campus and that was another reason why she decided to come to this particular event to do her assignment.
Felipe said there was a lot of planning involved in this event and it took about a month to organize with all the factors such as catering, setting up, decorations and scheduling performers. This year’s performances were what makes this year’s banquet different, according to Felipe.
“Every year is slightly different than the last because we have a compilation of performers,” she said. “This year we had spoken word performance from alumni Shannelle Gabriel and Kendal Santiago and from senior student Gianna Boone. We also had a dance performance from Africa in Motion.”
Felipe said there’s always been a great turn out for this particular event, typically around 160 people and many from the student body enjoys it.