On Feb. 9, Sacred Heart University’s Multicultural Center and Black Student Union (BSU) held an event called “No, You Can’t Touch My Hair” in celebration of Black History Month.
The concept of “No, You Can’t Touch My Hair” is to share the evolution and history of Black hair in America.
Senior Sydney Worthen-Jenkins, President of the BSU, explained that Black hair represents more than style, but also pride and identity.
“Braiding and cornrow styles are connected to freedom, and people would store rice in their hair during the slave trade, so there’s so many historical ties,” said Worthen-Jenkins. “For us it’s not just hair.”
Students were able to come together and lead a conversation about the love and pride they have for their own hair, and establish a connection between other Black students at SHU. At the end of the event, attendees received a “hair care journey” starter kit.
Sophomore Greg Dort attended the event and learned ways of making those around him more comfortable with their hair.
“Being at the event helped me understand more about my Black culture and why the natural hair movement began to rise more recently as opposed to 10 years ago,” said Dort. “I also learned how to speak up if I see someone making a fellow sister or brother of mine uncomfortable when it comes to their hair.”
Dort mentioned that the information at the event is helpful in informing those of all cultures in what is acceptable to say and expect of one another.
According to senior Kimani Long, Treasurer and Social Media Team member of the BSU, meetings and events put on by the Multicultural Center give Black students a sense of community at SHU.
“It’s a safe space for us,” said Long. “We’re able to talk about struggles of being the only Black kid in the classroom.”
The Multicultural Center and BSU are hosting more events throughout February, including the “Black Love Gala,” “Black Resistance Pt. 2,” and “Hip Hop Museum,” to continue celebrating Black History Month.
The organizations held two additional events, “Courageous Conversations: Holding Community Space to Discuss Policing in the United States” and “Soul Food Night,” at the beginning of the month.
Worthen-Jenkins and Long are looking forward to the “Black Love Gala,” a celebration of Black Love Day and a different take on Valentine’s Day, the most out of all of the events this month. To them, the gala will be a time for love for friends and SHU peers.
“It’s love for your friends, love for your community, love for God, and really just loving all the people around you and loving yourself,” said Worthen-Jenkins.
Members of the BSU believe that the “Black Love Gala” will be one of the most exciting and highly anticipated events for the club.
The Black Love Gala is a formal event and will take place in the West Campus on Thursday, Feb. 16. Students from other surrounding schools such as Central Connecticut State University and Fairfield are also invited.
The BSU meets biweekly at 8 p.m. in the Multicultural Center, room HC111. The club’s next meeting time will be on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
For students interested in visiting the Multicultural Center, the area is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
To learn more about the BSU, visit the club’s Instagram: @bsu_shu.