Submitted Photo: Selam Waclawik
Selam “Selamawit” Waclawik, co-founder, co-president of Black Student Alliance and senior
How often do you plan on meeting this year?
Before (COVID-19) happened, we met every other Thursday. However, since quarantine we’ve just been (meeting) via text and hopefully for this year we can meet every Thursday or Tuesday.
Can students still join if they are participating in the virtual option for the 2020-21 school year?
We would love to have (virtual learners) join our club. We would just have to set up a group chat of the people and tell them what time to join our (livestream) of the meeting via Zoom.
What inspired you and Morgan Blakey to start the club?
For both of us throughout our high school years, we have had to deal with microaggressions towards us being black. It was always just so hard because we felt like we didn’t have a safe space for us to have our own feelings without them being contradicted by our peers or other people. We always felt like we were never going to have a place where we could be ourselves and have our own opinions. That inspired us to create a creative space for black students to come and talk about their feelings. Our (club) is a really positive place and it is not one to talk negative about others and is truly about uplifting one another and talking about the social issues that we all deal with. Especially with the majority of the club being girls, we kind of talk about being black women in the world.
With a recent increase in awareness of racial issues, what do you see in the future for Black Student Alliance?
Hopefully this means that more people have begun to notice the problems (in society) and that this means that more people come to our meetings. And (our club) is not only for black people. I want every other race to come because this club is meant to create a safe space to talk about black issues. I would love to have other people’s input and I don’t want only one story.
As far as that goes, would you encourage white students to attend your meetings as well?
Yes, 100%, I would love for (white students) to come. This whole thing about race, it is not one-sided. You need to have other people’s opinions. You need to talk about them. If we could just talk to each other more, we could understand each other more. If we aren’t talking to each other, racial issues will never be solved.
What would you say to anyone considering coming to a meeting?
Please, please come. Bring your ideas, bring a great attitude, please be aware of other people’s feelings, and I hope you enjoy the meetings.
Is there anything else I haven’t asked you that you would like readers to know?
I want (the) readers reading this to please acknowledge what is happening to black Americans . I know that this whole thing has not just started to happen. It started over 400 years ago and it is still continued today. I want readers to realize that you have to acknowledge this and that if we don’t call (racism) out and call out people, nothing will change. Please do not just stand by and do nothing.