‘It was our chance to be heard’

Raised fist during BSU performance intended to send message


Adannaya Binder, Staff Writer

Most students agree that the International rally is one of the highlights of the year as various clubs come together and show the community who they are as a culture or group ‒ and some choose to make religious or political statements throughout their performance.

This year the Black Student Union (BSU) chose to focus its performance on the pain and struggle African Americans face.

“Our performance was supposed to be powerful and it was meant to have a lot of meaning to it,” sophomore BSU member Ethan George said.

Performing to the song “Glory” by John Legend, the group re-enacted African American deaths that happen all around the world, particularly from police brutality. They carried signs that stated the victim’s name and date of death, including Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland. Everyone in the audience was hooked, whether it was because of shock, love or confusion.

“I feel like we really connected with the audience, because it wasn’t only black people that had a positive response but people of every race,” junior Maya Price said. “I feel as though those who had a positive response really understood the message we were trying to send. It’s not often BSU shows their serious side, so I was really happy we did this year.”

As with any performance, there are always critics.

“It was a nice performance,” sophomore Taylor Pittman said. “However, I feel like they should’ve toned it down a bit because with all of the tension going on, it was too sudden. Also the raised fist was a very violent action because if they’re trying to promote peace, why use a gesture that the violent Black Panther Party groups used?”

The raised fist that many African Americans use, the one that BSU members used at the end of their performance, stands for unity, strength and self-defense according to various websites.

“We wanted to prove a point,” George said. “Because it was unexpected, it was therefore necessary. I don’t think we offended anyone because it was an awareness performance. We didn’t include any racial slurs or white cops, we just showed our struggle as the imminent problem.”

BSU didn’t get in trouble with administration, but they were warned by student government teacher LaRue beforehand that not everyone would be happy with their performance because it deviated from past performances.

“I decided to elevate our performance to a powerful and serious level because it was our chance to be heard.” BSU president Destiny Farley said. “We come to school every day, talk with friends, do things we take for granted. Many black Americans were stripped of these opportunities due to violence. We brought a commonly ignored conflict to the forefront of everyone’s minds, giving them something to ponder and consider.”

People may now wonder how future International rallies may go for BSU. Many members of the group are sure that if needed they will do another performance like this year’s.

“This year’s performance will not be a factor when it comes to deciding the content of BSU’s future performances,” Farley said. “Hopefully a performance of the same nature will not be needed, but if a call to action is needed, a powerful performance will be provided.”