Black Political Science Association resurfaces with major changes
By Simret Aklilu
UMD’s Black Political Science Association (BPSA), formerly known as the Black Political Student Association, is making a comeback in the 2016-2017 school year after a short-lived hiatus, said junior Government and Politics major and current president of the BPSA, Breonna Massey.
In the past, BPSA has provided a safe environment for minorities to advance their political knowledge by addressing key political issues. The organization will continue this tradition with an emphasis on diversity.
“The main goal for this year is to really just try to figure out why it is necessary to have an organization called the Black Political Science Association,” said Massey. “Why do we have to have groups that focus on ethnic issues on campus and what that means when it comes down to why students feel the need to socialize this way.”
One objective on organization’s agenda this year is to illuminate the different political viewpoints minorities in regards to the presidential elections.
“One of the cool dynamics we want to truly dive into is the difference between Ben Carson and Obama, and what that truly means for politics,” said Massey. “There are some minorities who don’t necessarily agree with Obama politics, and there are some people who don’t agree with Ben Carson politics or even Trump politics and that is an interesting thing to see, said Massey.
Massey, a member of TOTUS — a spoken word group on campus, Echelon Fashion Society and Black Male Initiative, had never heard of the Black Political Student Association when its former chapter was active on campus. She explained that the driving force behind her efforts in bringing back BPSA was rooted in the lack of racial and political diversity she had experienced in her classes.
Therefore, Massey contacted Jillian Santos, an academic adviser in the Department of Government and Politics about what she should do to create an inclusive environment.
“We had to have a place where we can talk about the same topics that we talk about in class in a way or in a manner that made us more comfortable,” said Massey. “Because in some situations you feel threatened by having these types of conversations in class.”
Over the course of the year, BPSA plans to host a variety of speakers and a multitude of workshops. One of the workshops will be dedicated to informing people about the different career paths they could do pursue with Government and Politics degree besides attending law school.
As of now, BPSA is not SGA recognized to be given access to funds, so the members plan to raise money through fundraisers.
Massey also highlighted the importance of community service to the organization. BPSA plans to garner funds for ‘Christmas Child’ — a project dedicated to providing Christmas gifts for children- through fundraisers and donations.
In terms of recruiting members, BPSA held a table at the First Look Fair to introduce the organization to the UMD community. Members of the organization were met with a diverse group of candidates with different majors who wanted membership.
“Most of the people that signed up were not even Government and Politics majors, “said Massey. “Most of them were economics, engineering or computer science majors.”
Massey also plans to go to government classes as well as other classes to promote BPSA She and the vice president of the organization , sophomore Government and Politics major, Darius Craig, are still looking for members to fill the executive board positions.
The first general body meeting for the Black Political Science Association will be held on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. in Millard E. Tydings Hall.