The Puyallup campus now is home to two African-American-based clubs. The Black Community Action club, originally called the Black Society Club, joins the longtime and active Black Student Union on campus.
BCA President Musziq Abellera-Riley says he was a member of the Black Student Union for about a month before deciding to start his own club. Members plan to focus on mentoring youth and more community-based events outside of Pierce College. “I wanted to reach out to the community because we really didn’t have a community-outreach type of program, but I also wanted to promote our culture,” says Abellera-Riley.
The existence of a second black club on campus raised questions about what the BCA club would offer that BSU couldn’t. Abellera-Riley says he wants to help kids who don’t have mentors and bring change to the campus and community.
“Just because we are all black doesn’t mean we want to do the same thing,” says Abellera-Riley.
Abellera-Riley is no longer part of BSU since starting his organization. He says it was better to part ways, so he could focus on his own club. He also says he didn’t like the alleged tension and drama within the BSU. Abellera-Riley said he changed the club’s name from Black Society to Black Community Action to avoid conflicts or confusion with BSU.
“People ask me why does there needs to be two black clubs, and I said why can’t there be two black clubs?” asks Abellera-Riley.
Although both BSU and BCA presidents have denied any on-going tension, Abellera-Riley did admit to having disagreements with some BSU members. In a meeting with both the BCA and BSU presidents, they discussed their concerns and tried to find common ground. Other concerns were raised, like if the starting of BCA would interfere with BSU events because more than half of BCA members are also in the BSU. When BSU President Aysha Yates first heard of the potential club, she said she didn’t personally understand the reasoning behind the making of it.
“For the making of the club, like the formation of the club, I did not approve of it,” says Yates. Diana Chege, the social coordinator for BSU, says she feels like the activities in BCA could’ve been done in BSU.
Chege agrees with Yates and says she didn’t approve of the formation of the club and that she feels as though BCA is trying to separate BSU. Like Chege, another BSU member, Kory Garrett, was also present when Yates stated she didn’t approve of the making of BCA. Garrett agrees that some of the activities associated with BCA could be done in BSU.
“I don’t feel like he (Abellera-Riley) needs their permission (to start a club) but if he wants to be in unison with them (BSU), and do things with them, then he’ll have to ask them about that,” says Garrett.
Although Yates says she doesn’t approve of the making of the club, she supports the BCA members’ mission and wishes them well on their journey to success. Despite Abellera-Riley no longer being a BSU member, he still respects the club and its members. Both the BCA and BSU president have confirmed that each of their clubs are not associated with each other. For each club, there must be at least five members dedicated to joining and willing to assist in paperwork.
Once the paperwork is complete, it’ll be presented to the OSL student council in a meeting. If the council approves the club, the process of starting the club will move forward. Each approved club is given $1,500 a quarter for funding, although an advisor isn’t needed during the first quarter of a new club’s existence.
Rosalie Masterjohn, the vice president of clubs and organizations, says she’s excited to see what BCAis going to do since she’s enjoyed working with BSU. “We want both of them to be successful,” says Masterjohn. Masterjohn says she did have a discussion with Yates in regards to the new black club and from her understanding,
Yates seemed okay with the idea. Masterjohn says the OSL team can’t get into gossip and tries to be unbiased in situations. The approval or permission from a current club member isn’t needed for a student to start a club similar to an existing one. Though both clubs focus on bringing black culture to campus, both presidents say their club is open to anyone who wants to join. Currently, BCA has 13 members and their meetings will be held in ADM 159. Because they’re still in the orientation phase of the club-making process, BCA members haven’t yet created any events. As of now, Abellera-Riley has decided to put the process of making the BCAclub on hold focus his academics and his mental health since this is his first quarter at Pierce.
“It’s time concerning but necessary,” says Abellera-Riley.
The BCA President says he plans to change the club’s name to The Community Action, to ensure students know everyone is welcome to join the club. After the club is finalized, Abellera-Riley has future plans to start a mentoring program with Sunrise Elementary School in Puyallup
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