Black United Students prepares to celebrate 50th anniversary


Black United Students had their first meeting at Oscar Ritchie to talk about what they’re planning for its 50th anniversary. 

Robyn Berandi

During the first meeting of the semester, Black United Students (BUS) executive board members and Department of Pan-African studies faculty explained to students why the 50th anniversary is important.

“You are here today as literally the fulfillment of the dreams of students from 50 years ago,” Mwatabu Okantah, an assistant professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies, said.  “You need to have dreams of what you are going to do with this space, this program, that you have inherited so that you can make a way for the students who will follow you.”

Idris Kabir Syed, an associate professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies and curator of the Uumbaji Gallery in Oscar Ritchie Hall, told students he is hoping to work with BUS this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sit-in at the administration office where BUS stopped the Oakland Police Department from recruiting police officers who were killing Black Panther members.

BUS will host many events this semester to celebrate the anniversary. Black homecoming week will be held in November and include events such as the Renaissance Ball and a comedy show.

“I hope we get a ton of new members,” said Alexyss Gray, a senior sociology major and executive secretary of BUS. “I want a ton of people to come out to the events. I want them to get a feel of what our organization does and who we’re here to serve, which is the black community.”

While still celebrating and appreciating its past, BUS is looking forward to the future.

“Times are different, but at the same time, times are the same,” said Dartalia Alati, a senior journalism major and president of BUS. “We really are interested to see where BUS is going to go in the next 50 years.”  

Students can learn more about the 50th anniversary on the BUS Twitter account.

Robyn Berardi is the diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected].