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Black Cultural Center gives Black students space to be authentic selves

The Black Cultural Center is a place on campus that has stood the test of time and continues to be a reminder to all students that there is room for Black and minority students to live as their most authentic selves with each other.

photo of the Black Cultural Center in autumn 2022

The first conversation about the establishment of a Black Cultural Center (B.C.C.) on campus was in November of 1969. Since then, it has continued to be recognized as a place of sanctuary and security for Black and minority students on campus.

On college campuses, especially at majority-white institutions like BW, environments specifically catering to different cultural backgrounds are important, believes Heaven Roberts '17.

photo of the Black Cultural Center in winter

"People deserve to have a place where they feel comfortable, safe, and be their [sic] true selves around other people who understand them and their experiences," Roberts said.

The B.C.C. gives BW students a chance to be in a space where they do not have to conform to the dominant culture or conceal the characteristics that make them unique. The center has become a key point of unity for Black students at BW.

Derrick Simpson '19 said he formed most of his friendships at the B.C.C. "As a freshman in college, seeing that there was a house for Black students was impactful."

The B.C.C. not only gives Black students and other minorities a place to connect with people like themselves, but it also conveys a message that these small yet powerful communities exist at BW and should not be overlooked.

Courtney Robinson, a program manager for the Center for Inclusion, said that the B.C.C. "allows students to have direct access to us, build stronger relationships with students and be more in touch with what is going on around campus."

Current student senior Austin Watkins hopes that students continue to make an effective use of the space. Watkins said he hopes students will "come together, make connections and network with students of different backgrounds."

Article reprinted with permission from The Exponent, an online and print news source operated by Baldwin Wallace students.

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