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Luskin Black Caucus organizes events to commemorate Black History Month

The Luskin School of Public Affairs, which houses the Luskin Black Caucus. The LBC is holding a series of student events during Black History Month with the goal of fostering greater community among Black Bruins. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Christopher Buchanan

Feb. 17, 2023 1:17 p.m.

The Luskin Black Caucus is celebrating Black History Month with a month-long series of events to commemorate the legacy of Black Bruins.

The LBC, a graduate public affairs organization created to increase program access and education for Black students at UCLA, is organizing four events taking place in February for students to celebrate Black history and honor the achievements of the Black community, said Elisse Howard, vice chair of the LBC.

Howard said the organization is hosting these events to foster a closer community among Black students amid times of difficulty, such as with recent cases of police brutality.

“I think it’s imperative for us as a community, especially with Black people, to celebrate one another,” she said. “I feel like people thrive off of Black pain and trauma.”

The LBC felt it was necessary to cultivate a place of belonging for Black students, said Elliot Woods, chair of the LBC.

The events began Feb. 2 with the BLM Kickoff, where students gathered to participate in a trivia night that highlighted the history and achievements of the Black community. Students tested their knowledge on topics such as Black history and the Black entertainment industry.

Students and organizers expressed excitement as the events began. Lauren Henderson, a social welfare graduate student, said she was glad to participate in the kickoff, adding she felt it was a good opportunity to engage with fellow students.

Students from multiple different cultural organizations also attended the event in solidarity with the Black community. Jasmine Loya, co-chair of the Luskin Latinx Caucus, the Latino-serving counterpart of the LBC, said events like the Black History Month celebration are places where students who seek to educate themselves can come together to honor Black history.

“These types of events allow us the opportunity to be in spaces to learn more about the Black community and essentially listen,” she added. “(We can) take account of the experiences that they have, which is extremely unique to other communities of color.”

On Feb. 14, the LBC hosted a Valentine’s Day event where students had the opportunity to unwind and acquaint themselves with fellow students in a series of speed dates along with event entertainment. At the end of the month, Howard said the LBC will also host an anti-racism speaker panel with professors and a keynote speaker to discuss Black futurism.

Woods added there will be more educational opportunities for students later in the month.

Woods said the LBC will also conduct a campus tour that emphasizes the contributions Black students and faculty have made to the university and their history on campus. In one stop on the tour, attendees will learn about the history of Campbell Hall, where John Jerome Huggins and Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter, two UCLA students who were prominent members of the Black Panther Party, were killed in a shooting in 1969, he added.

Henderson said she wants to see the university organize events like these more often to raise awareness about the efforts and contributions of Black student organizations on campus. Loya added she would like to see the university focus on organizing events calling attention to the Black community’s accomplishments at UCLA.

Howard said she hopes the LBC’s events bring the Black Bruin community together to celebrate one another.

“It’s one thing to just go to school, but it’s another thing to be part of a community, and we need to get around and get to know each other,” she said.

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