What is the BSU? An Interview with Mrs. Miles

What is the BSU? An Interview with Mrs. Miles

Interview by Johanna Marx

Black Student Union (@IU_BSU) | Twitter

(Image credit: Twitter)


Here at Temecula Middle School, we have the Black Student Union. This club represents African American students by helping students connect in their community, achieve success, tell the stories of people who have overcome challenges, and more. It’s a place where students can learn and grow together. BSU meets Thursdays during first lunch in room 308.


So without further ado, here’s what Mrs. Miles, the club advisor, said about the Black Student Union. You might find the answers to questions you have!


What is BSU?

“BSU stands for Black Student Union. It was established in the 1960s as African American students with desegregation where they’d go into white spaces and go to school with them. They found that often African American students were isolated and alone, so they created this club so that African American students could connect together in the community and help each other achieve success in college.”


Why should students join BSU?


Learn about new things:

  • “One thing we’re doing is, for example, I have a friend that is an educational manager at a bank and she wants to come in and do financial literacy with our kids. It’s open to anyone. A lot of our kids don’t know about finances or communication skills.


  • We get a chance to get some speakers. I have a cousin who’s a Ph.D. in psychiatry. There’s another young lady who finished San Diego State Engineering last year and she’s able to come in and share her story and talk about how she achieved her goals even though she wasn’t always the greatest student. How she developed strategies to meet her goals.”


  • “Of course, we know education is only one aspect of one’s overall success but we want to give greater education.


  • “We’ll be able to answer questions that sometimes they’re not always comfortable bringing up in other situations or other spaces. They can bring your questions here and get them addressed.”


What is your goal or mission for BSU?

“Our goal and our mission of course is, first of all, we want to equip our African American students to be their best, to contribute to our community, and to go out confidently and competent in the world. Often we’re one of very few, especially in Southern California, and no matter what, even though we have often achieved higher socioeconomic status and educational statuses, we often still see our numbers at the bottom in terms of overall achievement. So we want to see African American students represented in it and see themselves represented in the curriculum and what’s going on where they are. We want them to see themselves as success stories as well and to equip them for that success.”


How has BSU changed the school environment?

“Well, we’re fairly, fairly new. I think one thing we’ve done is we’ve helped our community become more aware. Sometimes the past injustices and sometimes the effects of those things that are still affecting our students in the African American community within our greater community. 

“There’s a greater awareness and hopefully more positive examples because a lot of times the media and what we see is often the negative side, as we know that all communities have. Sometimes the human experience are great examples and not so great examples. Hopefully being able to see and tell the stories of how people have faced challenges in spite of structures that are sometimes in place that have made it difficult for African Americans to achieve success. We want to make them more aware of resources that are available. They have access to future success. 

“As well as how to prepare students for difficult challenges — challenging conversations. How do we address when we sometimes see racial epithets being used and to inform our students that that’s not okay. 

“To teach them the history — even African American students because they sometimes don’t know the history. Sometimes African American students think it’s okay to use the n word, but we do a lot of damage, not only to ourselves but to others around us when we think that’s okay. In my own opinion, at least.”


When and where does BSU meet?

“BSU students, right now, just meet for first lunch. That means it’s open to sixth grade and half of the seventh grade. We’re hoping pretty soon we’ll send out a survey to see if students will be interested in meeting after school a couple of days a month so that it could be open to all of TMS. But for now, Thursdays room 308 at first lunch.


Do you have any other messages for students interested in BSU?

“The main things I hope you know that, again, we are only as strong as the weakest link and whatever the struggles are of our students who are struggling the most, whether it’s socioeconomic reasons, racial background, cultural background, are new to the community, that we can always learn and grow together. We can be a stronger community together.


What do you think? Do you want to join the Black Student Union? Tell us in the comments below!