GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The president of the Black Student Union is determined to create as many spaces as possible where fellow black students can talk about their values and culture with people who have gone through a similar life experience.
“I haven’t had a black teacher once in my life, and I’ve gone to Green Bay schools and UWGB my entire life,” explained Hannah Beauchamp-Pope. “We’ve had to create entire programming events for incidents. Racist incidents right here on this campus.”
She says it comes down to sometimes difficult conversations and education.
“Give space for students to come to have that part of their identity nourished,” added Beauchamp-Pope.
The Black Student Union organized many activities over Black History Month and was sure to invite anyone who wanted to take part.
In the long term, Hannah is concerned about the lack of black teachers. She feels only then can true change take hold.
She also says something must be done to address the financial barriers to higher education which can impact students of color more than others.
“College is so expensive,” Hannah told Local 5’s Michele McCormack. “This is my last semester, and I just spent $800 on textbooks. The most expensive semester so far.”
Just a table over in the commons, the soccer team is grabbing a bite. A large portion of the team is made up of international athletes. A glimpse of what diversity can be.
“We’re a very diverse group,” said Junior Colton Prater. “I think just as a school I’ve met a lot of international students. I think it’s a good culture that Green Bay has for its students.”
Teammate and fellow junior Daniyal Rana agreed. “I definitely like the initiative of setting aside months for communities. I hope eventually, we get to a point where don’t have to have this just for this group and something else for another. I hope we all support whoever, wherever.”
Until that time, Hannah says black students are in the best position to let others in on some history that’s missing from textbooks.
“It’s important because it’s American history. It’s the history we are not taught in our schools. And ask questions. There’s a lot of power in asking questions. Be a sponge and ask questions,” said Beauchamp-Pope.
Hannah is very close to earning her degree at UWGB, with her next big decision being which law school to attend.