Black Student Union celebrates individuals making an impact at first Soulful Showcase

Courtney Murphy | Copy Editor

Tonight, the Black Student Union is hosting the first Soulful Showcase, an event that recognizes and honors Whitworth students, faculty and others who have made a difference in the community. Soulful Showcase will be held in the HUB dining hall starting at 7:45 on Feb. 24.

Senior marketing major Andrew Parker first got the idea for the event while talking to his father about how students can use skills learned in their major to do something long lasting while still at Whitworth, he said.

This initial conversation took place last fall, and Parker brought up the event idea to sophomore Jira Hammond, vice president of the Black Student Union. The Black Student Union has not been active at Whitworth in recent years, but Hammond, president sophomore Ajhana Lewis-Harrell and others kickstarted it last school year, Hammond said.

Over the last two years, the Black Student Union has held monthly meetings for members and has tried to do one event per month, Hammond said. However, the club has never done something like Soulful Showcase.

“[Parker] came to me about it,” Hammond said. “I really liked his idea so I talked to the other Black Student Union members to see if we could put it on, and they agreed so Andrew and I just took off from there.”

Originally Parker and Hammond wanted to host the event around Christmas, but the club did not have the resources to plan it then, Parker said. They decided to move the event to February, which is Black History Month.

The entertainment part of the showcase will feature performances from a local band called “Sessions” and Seattle-based musician Tiffany Wilson, Parker said. There will also be a dance performance from sophomore Sasha Montgomery and others, Hammond said.

Between entertainment acts, the Black Student Union will honor some Whitworth faculty and former-faculty that have supported the club’s mission, Parker said. One of those honorees is Rhosetta Rhodes, vice president for Student Life.

“The honorees...have done a lot within the community with supporting minorities on campus,” Hammond said. The honorees will receive a plaque of accomplishment from the Black Student Union.

In addition to honoring Whitworth community members, the Black Student Union is also using the event as an opportunity to give back to the larger Spokane community. The event is free for students with a Whitworth ID, but for non-Whitworth students and other community members there will be a fee of $5, Parker said. The revenue from the $5 fee will be donated to Global Neighborhood.

According to Global Neighborhood’s website, they are a “community benefit organization that focuses on using business to provide former refugees with opportunities for development so they can thrive and contribute as equal members of our community.”

The goal of Global Neighborhood fits well with the Black Student Union’s goals to include students of diverse backgrounds, Hammond said. In addition, the owners of Global Neighborhood are Whitworth alumns.

“[Soulful Showcase] is something different, something new [for the club],” Parker said. “There’s obviously things we’re going to learn, but hopefully this is a long-term thing.”

A goal for Hammond is for the Black Student Union to grow and become a more present club on campus, she said.

“Black Student Union’s message is all about inclusion,” Hammond said. “We want to include everyone we can. It’s not just for black or African American students. We want to include people from different races. We want to include people from different diverse backgrounds.”
After Soulful Showcase, the next Black Student Union event will be a masquerade party, Hammond said. If you want to know the Whitworth Black Student Union, contact Hammond at jhammond19@my.whitworth.edu or Lewis-Harrell at alewis-harrell19@my.whitworth.edu.

Contact Courtney Murphy at cmurphy18@my.whitworth.edu

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