Black Christian Student Association Debuts Feb. 11
Liberty University proudly boasts an eclectic mix of clubs; according to Liberty’s website, there are more than 100 clubs ranging from politics (College Republicans) to spirituality (Christians 4 Freedom).
With such a wide range of clubs, one group of students noticed that there was something missing: a club dedicated to aiding young black students from across the world in adapting to campus life. Fueled by Mark 12:30-31, this very group decided it was time to change that.
Avanna Williams, Janea Berkley and Albert Mutesa are all students at Liberty University. Each of them expressed their gratitude toward Liberty and the opportunity to receive a Christian education.
“I am passionate about Liberty,” Williams said. “I love this college and what it has to offer for all of its students. I learned to have such a deep appreciation for the school.”
As this trio continued to pursue their education, this passion for Liberty blossomed into something greater. However, they found that often other students of color did not hold Liberty in the same regard. Others said they felt disconnected and unable to adapt, resulting in them transferring to different colleges.
What the trio soon realized was that there was something missing, something that could truly benefit all students, not just students of color.
“We needed a club that supports the black community on campus,” Williams said. “… we wanted a place where we could provide a place of reconciliation among blacks, whites, Africans. We are a group of passionate people trying to impact the Kingdom (of God) as well.”
And after much prayer, planning and preparation, Williams, Berkley and Mutesa—along with six other students sharing the same vision—ignited the Black Christian Student Association (BCSA) under the supervision of Dr. Delbert Jones on Oct. 26. The BCSA will have its inaugural General Body Meeting at the Center4ME located in the Montview Student Union, Feb. 11, 6 p.m.
“We thought it was important for Liberty University to say, ‘We care about you, we care about all of you,’” Williams said.
Jones held a special place in his heart for this club. As an alumnus, he was involved in the last Liberty club for black students, which ended in 1994. Seeing young students resurrect this union was an answered prayer.
“We had a black student fellowship in 1982,” Jones said. “The fellowship went from 1982 for 10 to 12 years… That’s where I gained my support. That’s where I gained my strength.”
Mutesa, a Zambia native studying biomedical sciences, mentioned that this club’s intent is not to isolate black students from the rest of campus. Rather, the BCSA’s purpose is to build a community for the students with the purpose of connecting them with other clubs and communities within Liberty.
“You can see Liberty trying to train champions for Christ who love him and love the people he has called us to serve,” Mutesa said. “I think this club provides a platform for all of us to serve the African American community in a way that makes it easier for them to transition into Liberty. That is what stands out about this club.”
Although the BCSA became an official club in October 2017, the spring 2018 semester is its first semester under operation. As a club, one of its primary missions was to prepare for Black History Month. Due to this club’s infancy, it is still in the process of preparing for events throughout February.
“We can’t disregard the contributions African Americans have made in America,” Williams said. “(There are) so many strong, intelligent African Americans… I don’t see why and how we could ignore what they have done for this country. I don’t think that America would be the same America without them.”
However, the BCSA is not limiting its outreach to students of color. Rather, it firmly believes that Black History Month should be celebrated and acknowledged by all, not just African Americans.
Williams, president of the BCSA, added that she wants to take this time to educate students on what black history truly is, something that extends far beyond slavery.
“African American history is not just slavery,” Williams said. “It’s so much more than that. We can see the narrative of an oppressed people group overcome.”
Even though the BCSA’s immediate focus is primarily on Black History Month, Williams, Berkley and Mutesa have all begun looking to the future, finding out what they want this club to be and how they want to make an impact that extends beyond the African-American community on campus.
“I would like to see this club transform this college,” Williams said. “I believe that this club could really transform our hearts. I can see the Lord using this club to be a huge platform for those who do not have a platform. I can see relationships being restored.”
According to Berkley, vice president of the BCSA, students should be proud of their African-American heritage. However, each member emphasized the importance of prioritizing their identity in Christ over their ethnicity.
“I am first and foremost a Christian,” Berkley said. “I am a child of God. An under that, he made me and created me a beautiful black woman. My identity is first in Christ and secondly, I am a black woman. I will forever be proud of who I am. I will forever be proud of my heratige and my culture. It creates my story.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.