By Kiyanna Noel
Black Solidarity Day has officially been added to SUNY Plattsburgh’s calendar and will be celebrated Nov. 7. Black Solidarity Day is a day to commemorate Black and Indigenious People of Color students for making it this far despite societal and historical challenges and to show them that their voices matter and they are seen.
Black Solidarity Day is a day that will serve as a teach-in, where students will learn about cultural diversity and the power of their voices.
Plattsburgh alumni and former member of the Student Association Mac-Olivier Lalanne remembers when this solution was brought up in the 56th Legislation by Shiyiheeim Nartey-Tokoli and passed in the 57th Legislation.
“As I mentioned before, the resolution has been passed in different legislative terms [57th legislation with Kira Paulemon]. When I came back to SA during the 59th legislation, I noticed that nothing had been done which led to me, along with Ohemaa, to modernize and bring back the resolution this time with a bigger push for things to happen,” Lalanne said.
Lalanne believes that “the purpose of Black Solidarity Day is to show Black students in college and the BIPOC community in todays’ society has been taken for granted.”
Black Solidarity Day was something spoken about, but it was pushed to the sidelines until now.
Peculiar Joseph, a triple major in political science, biomedical sciences and entrepreneurship student, had something to say about how long it took for something to be done.
“It took so long. It’s been a long time coming,” Joseph said as she was hanging up posters for Black Solidarity Day.
Ohemaa Owusu-Poku, a junior majoring in Political Science with the minors of Legal Studies, Africana Studies and Gender Women Studies and a former member of the Student Association, has worked to get Black Solidarity Day added to the calendar for a while. She explained how this is something that has been a long time coming and is a step in the right direction for acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of college students on this campus.
“My role is simply having it permanently established every year in SUNY Plattsburgh,” Owusu-Poku said. “Also, to celebrate all of the ‘different’ kids [as some would like to describe it] for coming to college and doing what they have to do to succeed. We broke the barriers of fear and mental boundage of failure and made it through. We are flourishing in universities. I just want to honor us for coming this far. People our age are not even excelling like we are and some are even in the grave but we are privileged to be here excelling.”
Going to college is a foreign idea in the homes of many BIPOC homes and communities, so it is a big accomplishment when someone is able to go to college and graduate. Black Solidarity Day is to represent all BIPOC students who didn’t believe this was possible for someone like them.
“Black Solidarity Day is simply celebrating black life and being aware of our history plus paying respects to those who made a difference with our skin color,” Owusu-Poku said. “To me, this simply means that we are celebrated for who we really are. Displaying that we are not secluded and how we are not different but rather valued as a people.”
Black Solidarity Day is a day of remembrance and perseverance for the community. It was made to remember why BIPOC is here and how it is possible now for students of color to have a seat in chairs that weren’t accessible to them before.
“I want us to understand that our voices matter. We are not only statistics, but rather a nation that is coming into power,” Owusu-Poku said. “BIPOC students and faculty are a part of this campus and their voices are now represented in Black Solidarity Day.”