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Thursday February 2nd

First BSM meeting promotes togetherness

<p>The Harmonyx, a sub group of the Black Student Movement, performs as a part of a BSM meeting.</p>
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The Harmonyx, a sub group of the Black Student Movement, performs as a part of a BSM meeting.

Mckellar, the president of BSM, was elected on the theme “forward together.” Carrying on the theme, Mckellar introduced several administrators at the meeting, including Student Body President Houston Summers and Derek Kemp, associate vice chancellor for campus safety and risk management.

Mckellar said having Kemp, who spoke about the new body camera initiative, at the meeting showed students that the University supported them.

“I definitely wanted him to come for our students, to show that our administrators and those that are in power really do care for us — actually seeing a visual statement of that,” he said.

He said the “forward together” theme was something he wants to be reflected in BSM, as well as campuswide.

“I believe that you can’t really work toward a unified campus if you’re not unified as your own organization,” Mckellar said.

Kemp said he hopes to talk to other student groups about campus security as well.

“We wanted to show, demonstrate, that we support the students,” he said.

Summers said student government has been looking into spaces to build plots for National Pan-Hellenic Council fraternities and sororities, an initiative he spoke about in his campaign, saying student government is looking into using unused residence halls for this purpose.

However, the meeting was not without tension.

Alicia McDowell, artistic director of Ebony Readers/Onyx Theater, performed a spoken word piece about the anger and fear many feel about police brutality.

“Death wears a blue uniform as a shield,” she read aloud.

Department of Public Safety Chief Jeff McCracken, who also attended the meeting, said he understands where this sentiment comes from.

“I think, unfortunately, there are a lot of people who for very legitimate reasons across the country, have those feelings,” McCracken said. “And we want to do whatever we can to make all our students feel comfortable with the officers that are in charge of protecting them here.”

Mckellar said he wants to work with administrators and students to confront national issues like police violence.

“We’re going to need everybody,” he said.

Subgroups like a cappella group Harmonyx and the UNC Gospel Choir also performed during the meeting.

Mckellar said BSM will continue to promote the voices of black students through these subgroups.

“We want to keep striving for justice and freedom for everybody,” he added.

“And that’s why the Black Student Movement was made: to be the voice for black students and for perpetuating black culture. And we want everybody this year to be a part of that.”



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