Black Heritage Ball rolls through Western
By Joyce Stevenson
March 1, 2013
Take an action, make a change, be an example. This was the advice given in speeches delivered as part of the 2nd annual Black Heritage Ball held on the evening of Feb 27 in Blum.
Nearly 70 students attended the formal event. Some performed the waltz and the cha cha, some delivered moving speeches, and others gave stirring vocal performances. A scholarship was awarded to the best speechwriter.
A dinner was catered and enjoyed by the students and special guests, Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Dr. Judy Grimes and Manerva Torres.
Hosted by the Black Student Union in celebration of Black Heritage Month, the theme was to carry out Martin Luther King Jr’s vision. Rodney Roberts, MWSU Black Men’s Association founder and co-host, gave a speech encouraging students to lead their peers in exemplary action and language. He asked that they show respect toward each other and all students by helping to set the example.
“Be the example, not the majority,” Roberts said, “Do you want to see change?”
Brianna Watkins was the winner of this year’s scholarship, based on her speech citing the power of education. With several references to King, Watkins encouraged the crowd to continue their education and set the example for their generation.
“Human progress requires education,” Watkins said.
Freshman Jordon Fitzgerald co-hosted the event. With a major in accounting, Fitzgerald is helping to set the example stated by Watkins. He is involved in many organizations on campus in addition to BSU.
“The Ball is held to acknowledge students and their goals,” Fitzgerald said, “I recommend students get involved in activities early in their college career.”
BSU member Kenya Miller’s speech focused on why she chose to run for the position.
“I saw my generation not doing anything on campus and I thought about transferring schools,” Miller said. “We are a generation of people addicted to Twitter and partying.”
Instead, she got involved with the Black Student Union. Her goal is to empower and guide young women. She helped form the Society of Distinguished Black Women (SDBW). They are dedicated to helping women on campus and doing community volunteer work.
“We are only as strong as our weakest link,” Miller said in her closing remark, citing a popular proverb.
Tobius Pointer, president of BSU, challenged students to do better as a culture. He encouraged them to break down stereotypes.
“We can do better, brothers and sisters, not only as African Americans but as a community,” Pointer said.
He encouraged students to make a change.
“Please remember these four words: transition, involvement, persistence, and success,” Pointer said.
BSU recognized Manerva Torres and presented her with roses.
“You help us get through problems,” Pointer said, “when sometimes it seems no one else cares.”
Senior Leah Hayes was also recognized by Pointer and Roberts for her unending dedication to BSU.
“Without you, we wouldn’t be here. You are an unparalleled asset to this campus,” Pointer said. “You have touched everyone in this room for the betterment of all students.”