Black and Brilliant event to look at health

Amara Gobermann, Managing Editor

Black and Brilliant has historically been the Black Student Union’s (BSU) largest event, and every year there is a new theme.

This year’s theme is health in the black community, and Jodi Williams, a transitions specialist with the School of Academic Advancement and one of the co-advisors for BSU, would love to have as many as possible in attendance this year.

On Feb. 28, Black and Brilliant and BSU are bringing awareness to physical and mental health. It is a free event, and all are invited to join the fun. From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. there will be a free meal. From 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. there will be a forum with a panel of black professionals for an Q&A. It will be held in Truax Room D1630 BC.

The members of BSU gather frequently to discuss a theme or topic they want to highlight. Since early last summer they had the idea of health and continued to ponder the idea until it became this year’s theme. Williams thinks health was a great topic for this year and that it is important to bring awareness to it.

“I’m very happy that we chose mental health, being raised African American is a very different experience and there is a different view on mental health,” said Williams.

BSU wants to recognize that there have been a lot of things in the African American community that influence the way it is viewed, and it is important to start having conversations about it. Their hope is that by bringing in professionals and speakers they will make the conversation easier, and more informative.

“It’s another source of education,” said Williams.

At this year’s event Williams hopes everyone can make new connections, as well as gain knowledge about mental health. BSU gathered passionate people of color who are successful in business to join the panel.

Williams says “the people who are passionate about the topic will hopefully leave with a connection where they can internship or reach out to after they graduate.”

BSU reached out to personal connections in order to have a room full of professionals. They will have Charles Cunningham, a black counselor on staff, Lisa Payton Care, founder of the Foundation of Black Women’s Wellness, Jasmine Zapata who works in the physical health field, and many other people personally connected to BSU members.

They also are trying to gain connection with Sankofa Behavioral and Community Health, a local non-profit health clinic with a predominantly black staff, and who emphasize their services toward the black community.

BSU is encouraging everyone to attend. No matter your background, your race, or your knowledge of the topic, Williams knows you can take something away from this event.

“The goal is to encourage all faculty and all students to come in to hear about a topic that they may not have a lot of exposure to,” Williams said.

For anyone who attends and enjoys the event, or wants to learn more about BSU, new members are always welcome. BSU meets Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Intercultural Exchange, Truax Room C1430.

Williams loves being at Madison college, where culture can be celebrated through events like Black and Brilliance. In the future, she hopes to see BSU grow and strengthen its bonds within the community.