Black Student Union President Kayla Johnson Pushes Equality–Oneness
Augusta University’s, Bell Ringer newspaper (10/14/19)
Kayla Johnson is no stranger to diversity. At a young age it wasn’t taught, it’s wasn’t even talked about. It was the only way of life she knew. Growing up in a society that wasn’t always so accepting of her skin prepared her to lead the charge.
Kayla, president of the Augusta University’s, Black Student Union (BSU) is enthusiastic about pushing equality and oneness. Being Greenbrier High school Alumni and always being one of a few black students in a class groomed Kayla to know how to move and flourish in a predominantly white environment. Although her experience growing up prepared her for her college experience, Kayla recognizes that this isn’t the case for all black students at a predominantly white institution (PWI).
“Diversity is for white society,” said Kayla. “Black people know how to function with other ethnicities and cultures. They’re always the minority in a white society. It’s the black way of life,” she added.
Kayla joined the BSU two years ago after attending a meeting. She got involved with the organization immediately and since then, she’s never left. Call her a young Betty Shabazz, setting precedence and demanding change for the oppressed.
Black students make up 25.3% of the population at Augusta University, and racism is still very much alive.
“People try to pretend we are equal, or racism is dead. We all know it’s not true.” Kayla said.
“Even the people who look confused when that statement is said known it’s not true.” She offered.
Given this reality, it is important that black students feel heard, welcomed and even celebrated. The BSU works to make this happen and acts as a safe space for students of color.
Oddly, some people think the BSU is a hate group or a group of aggression. Kayla seeks to educate those people about the true purpose of this organization.
Kayla said, “This is a direct hit from society’s preconceived notions, people avoiding us because they have made us dangerous in their minds.”
We are open arms and open discussion,” she added.
One of the BSU’s goals is to join students of all walks of life together by education, and social events like, Blooming week held by Black and Blooming from October 21-25, or the BSU’s spring banquet held this April 18. Kayla wants people to know that the BSU is an umbrella hub for all black groups on campus—an all things black headquarters if you may.
According to African.sfsu.edu, the first BSU was founded in 1966 at San Francisco State University. The sole purpose of this organization’s existence then and now is to fight for civil rights. BSU’s at PWI are important. They give black students a voice and a community where people that share similar experiences can advocate for each other.
Although her plate might seem overwhelmingly full, Kayla spilts her time with the Augusta University’s theater department. She’s starred in a few plays at the university, and identifies as a novice artist. Ironically, her latest role in the, Moving Photographs is the choreographer—she sets the theme before each scene, kind of like what she does on campus with setting the scene of equality and justice.
To keep up with the BSU and their events, follow them on all social media platforms @aug_bsu. We are Wakanda!