A new organization striving to “better the image” of the members it revolves around has emerged on campus, and it’s size is beginning to rival that of the Apache Band and Phi Theta Kappa.
Black Student Association, founded by sophomore Zarrick Cannon and Judicial Affairs Chair Damien Williams, is growing quickly and is bringing the student population together.
“I realized that our demographic wasn’t represented in it’s own organization, which led to BSA’s (Black Student Association’s) birth,” Williams said.
According to William’s research, there has not yet been a Black Student Association on campus, so their organization is the first of its kind at Tyler Junior College.
“It was inspiring to see how well HSO (Hispanic Student Organization) was doing with winning ‘Organization of the Year,'” Williams said.
The BSA is an umbrella organization for Anointed Vessels, the praise dance organization, and Voices of Worship, the gospel choir. All three organizations work alongside each other to provide community, fun, and family to all members involved.
The organization currently has 240 active members and is literally growing every day. However, the organization is not just open to black students: the meetings are filled with students of nearly all races and beliefs.
Cannon claimed to have first gotten the vision for the organization last year and never thought that it would grow to the size it has now.
“I didn’t think we’d have nearly as much support as we do now. I’ve gotten so much thanks for the organization’s creation and missions,” Cannon said.
Cannon said that many faculty members, including Williams, Gigi Delk, Rebecca Branch, Ishmael Benjamin, and Regina Williams have provided support and praise for the organization’s creation.
“This organization causes a sense of community among black students. Its purpose is to better the stereotyped image of the black student,” Cannon said.
BSA recently held its “Stoplight Party” dance in the Apache Rooms. Cannon said that they filled the Apache Rooms so much that they had to stop admitting students. The event raised over $600 toward a leadership conference they plan to attend in the spring.
Aside from promoting a vibrant student life, the organization also has participated in, and plans on participating in, even more various community service projects. BSA assisted Grace Community Church in their “Fall Block Party” at Bergfield Park where the organization members manned various booths and worked to bring the community together. They also aided in New Generation Baptist Church’s fall carnival.
Williams also went on to say that BSA plans to soon visit the surrounding elementary schools and participate in reading to the students.
BSA also plans on travelling to Texas A&M University in the spring for the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference. Williams is planning on taking 10 to 12 leaders with him to the conference. At past conferences, celebrity guest speakers included Bill Cosby and Samuel L. Jackson.
“It is a small section of time in my life that makes a big influence on the campus that subliminally motivates students, not just black students, to be proactive,” Freshman BSA member Jawoine Hawkins said.
“It brings joy to my heart to see a community of African-American students interact with other races in a professional learning environment through this organization,” Cannon said.
The only requirement for membership is to be a student at TJC. BSA meetings are typically bi-weekly at 6 p.m. in the Apache Rooms. For more information, there is a Facebook group, TJC Black Student Association, that sends out regular event and meeting date messages.