On Friday, March 25th, a group of student affairs professionals organized a blackout through Facebook and Twitter. Articles, videos, images, and personal stories were shared to address issues of racism, privilege, and microaggressions within the system of higher education.
Bulaong Ramiz, one of the organizers of the #blksapblackout movement, prepared the statement below regarding the goals and momentum surrounding this important conversation within higher education and the student affairs community.
On Friday, a collective of Black Student Affairs Professionals (BLKSAP) took over the Student Affairs Professionals Facebook page with the sharing of articles, videos, and personal stories addressing the experiences of Black people in higher education.
This movement came about after a private discussion on the BLKSAP Facebook group about the microaggressions, macroaggressions, and missteps perpetrated by many of our colleagues from across the country. We wanted to ensure that our voices and concerns as BLKSAP would be heard and that our experiences would not be erased or dismissed by the fear, guilt, or fragility of our peers.
While I do not speak on behalf of the BLKSAP group and recognize that there are many reasons why people participated in #blksapblackout, I would like to share that since the creation of the event and hashtag, my sole purpose was to uplift and empower Black professionals, to show our presence, our community, and takeover a space that for many of us has been filled with dismissive commentary and violent ignorance.
While I am happy to see white people learning, growing, and engaging in dialogue around issues of inclusion and equity in our field, it should not take an inundation of stories about Black struggle and passive violence for us to be seen, heard, and validated. The work of social justice, equity, and inclusion is everybody’s work, as we like to say. It is work that takes risk and is certainly not easy. We must have the dialogue but we must get beyond “the talk” and start challenging our communities to make true, long-lasting, institutional commitments to equity in higher education and student affairs.
I am inspired by the energy around this movement and hope people continue to share their stories and experiences so that we might continue to challenge ourselves and our profession to be a community of learning, accountability, and transformation for the benefit of all.
The multiple educational resources that were shared during the #blksapblackout are available at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G9iGnw36kZC7gFINmqKxKmxfiJvY8DRKU1BN43NhKt4/edit#heading=h.sx8e22an8acs