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EMHS Black Student Union looks to build community

Jocha Gordon
The Black Student Union on a tour of Langston University.

In 2019, Edmond Memorial High School’s facility and students came together, planning to form a Black Student Union, but due to COVID-19, this plan did not come to fruition until the 2022-23 school year. Marking the 2023-24 school year as the second year of the club’s debut, it is just beginning its journey of impacting the community with activities and fundraisers. 

BSU is a club aimed at providing opportunities for African-American students at EMHS a place to meet and share experiences with other African Americans. It grants these students an opportunity to share experiences and build friendships. 

“BSU is a club to build community, cultural and educational awareness for students of color and for the school community as a whole,” adviser Mieke Price said.

Members of BSU have already done many activities including a “Speaker Series” where they bring prominent African-American figures around the community to speak with students and also do tours to historical locations in Oklahoma. The tours include locations such as the historically predominantly black town of Boley and Oklahoma’s only historically black college  They also take students to seminars in colleges meant to enrich their lives. 

“Another “Speaker Series” is in the works that will include Dr. Gary Jones & Ruth Ray Jackson, Ph.D.,” adviser Pamela Tennial said.  “These speakers include a mayor, tenured professors on diversity committees and the president of an HBCU.”

 Being new to EMHS, the BSU doesn’t have the resources to do everything it would like to currently. However, the club has substantial plans for the near future such as a trip to Tulsa to visit the Greenwood Rising Museum, and the students are working hard to fundraise and make connections to actualize these plans. 

“I hope in the future we can be more involved in joining with other clubs to hold activities to increase and combine our community and improve school culture and climate in general,” Price said. “Maybe in the future, we can have BSU nights at ball games where we can as a club go and support our Bulldogs, participate in Swine Week, etc.”

Not only do they want to improve the community around EMHS but they would also like to make an impact on a larger scale. They want to make a difference outside of just the campus, but all around Edmond, and are figuring out in what ways they can do so.

“At some point, we want to reach beyond our students and have opportunities to serve the community with things like healthcare fairs or financial seminars,” Pamela Tennial said. “We are taking steps to get to where we can do that.”

Sophomore Natalie Tennial who is a representative for the BSU sees the organization as a place where she can interact with people who look like her. It has done for her just what the organization sets out to do: build a community.

“Most of my classes that I’m in, whether at Francis Tuttle or at EMHS, [the black students] are really spread out,” Natalie Tennial said. “It is cool to be able to hang out with people that have the same experiences as me.” 

The BSU looks to impact things for the African-American community at EMHS while also helping the surrounding community as a whole, and they are just in the beginning stages of their organization. They will continue to grow and build their community alongside EMHS for years to come.

Contact Lathan Pearce at [email protected]


About the Contributor
Lathan Pearce
Lathan Pearce, Staff Writer
Hello, my name is Lathan Pearce. I’m a senior, and this will be my third year on staff. My freshman year, I was in the Intro to Journalism class being taught by upperclassman team leaders, and now this year, I’m a team leader. I enjoy writing about many subjects, whether it’s movie/show reviews, features or sports. I’m a big Oklahoma City Thunder fan, and also support the Arkansas Razorbacks. Lastly, I have two cats, Eliza, who is full of energy, and Poku, who’s the laziest cat I’ve ever met.