With strong support from Bloomfield College’s administration, motivated student leaders recently launched an on-campus Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign. A key part of the launch included the unveiling of a new BLM messaging across the full front of the Student Center façade that was covered in black draping. The unveiling revealed large format posters supporting the BLM movement facing out from every window, strategically hung to be seen by all present and from across the main campus quad.
Expressing “110 percent” support for the student-led BLM campaign, President Marcheta P. Evans said in her remarks, “I want to thank our students for the activism and commitment you have shown by stepping up to the plate. Young people are the ones who are going to take this forward. Your voices matter.”
Councilwoman Brittany Claybrooks of East Orange was in attendance and gave remarks about the power of voting, encouraging all students to cast their vote in the upcoming election. “Everything we do is political and everyone plays a role,” said Claybrooks. “Another way to serve the BLM movement well is to fill out the 2020 Census,” she added, “to ensure that they know we’re here.”
“We are very proud of the leadership that our students displayed in planning for the Black Lives Matter campaign launch,” said Terrance L. Bankston, Director of the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement & Special Programs. “As New Jersey’s only Predominantly Black Institution, it was wonderful to see our community come out to together denounce racism, and embrace and give yet another voice to the Black Lives Matter movement.”
Kyle Smith, president of Bloomfield College Student Government (BSCG), said “After the killing of Breonna Taylor, I personally felt insecure about being black. And, I realized that we have the power to make an impact on the BLM movement. It is the hope of the full Student Government executive board that this campaign will further engage our fellow students in social justice activism, to share their voices and to participate in voting.”
The student rally that followed was also planned by Bloomfield College students. Destiny Rogers, vice president of BSCG and president of Lambda Tau Omega Sorority, Inc., said “The rally included singers, poets, spiritual blessings and much more to create a thoughtful, peaceful and reflective event. It was very moving. Some of what we heard gave us chills.” Iyanah Thomas, vice president for Lambda Tau Omega Sorority, Inc., added “We wanted to hold a social justice rally to give the student body an opportunity to be heard with no judgement. I think we accomplished that.”
Following the on-campus BLM launch, College and student leadership will together host monthly virtual town halls on social justice during the Fall semester to address the theme From Pandemic, to Protest to Power. Anticipated outcomes include adding a collective voice to the BLM energy in a safe and positive regard; denouncing racist individuals and racism altogether in a unified campus community; and promoting civic engagement and social justice activism amongst Bloomfield College students.
As one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the nation, Bloomfield College takes pride in its student community, more than half of who identify themselves as first-generation college students. Bloomfield College is the only New Jersey institution to be recognized as both a Predominantly Black Institution and a Hispanic Serving Institution, and is also a Minority Serving Institution. Located in historic Bloomfield, New Jersey, just 15 miles from New York City, a cultural epicenter for entertainment, business, and internship and career opportunities, Bloomfield College offers the lowest full-time tuition rate for any private four-year college or university in New Jersey.