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Student Perspective: Gabriella Branco, ’24

BSU student’s reflection on racial justice and equity
Story Series
Action: Racial Justice and Equity

Can you please talk about the work you do – on campus and beyond – for racial equity and justice?

I am employed as a marketing assistant at BSU’s Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice at BSU. I previously served as a Justice Fellow with a focus on advocacy and policy. (My career goal is to work in advocacy and policy, specifically working with the immigrant and refugee population.) In these roles, I have strived for racial equity and justice, participating in events like the MLK Day of Service, crafting social media posts that highlight racial disparity, and learning about the impact of policy on equity and justice. This experience has taught me the power of social media in raising awareness on topics of racial equality.

In addition, I am also a member of a student club, La Sociedad Latinx (LSL). Over the past couple of years, I have worked closely with the Latine population on campus. We hold meetings and events that celebrate the Latine identity and provide a space to discuss the challenges faced by the Latine community. This work has taught me that racial equity and justice varies across different ethnicities and groups.

Working toward racial equity and justice involves understanding and acknowledging the diverse needs within racial groups. LSL promotes creating a Latine community at BSU and sharing our identities with our peers, faculty and the overall community. As part of the Adrian Tinsley Program for Undergraduate Research, I conducted qualitative research involving interviews with Latine BSU students to gain insights into their experiences on campus. This research helped me understand how Latine students feel at BSU and the role their identity plays in their experiences. My findings provide insights into how the university can advance student equity and justice for Latine students, which takes us a step closer to closing the educational gaps among different student groups on campus.

What does BSU do well in addressing the needs and desires of our students of color and in making you feel comfortable and welcome on campus?

BSU creates spaces where students of color can engage in discussions about advancing racial equity and social justice. Feedback on how the university can improve is always welcomed and changes are implemented. BSU makes it known that they want to learn and provides resources for students to share their experiences and more. BSU supports its students, empowering them to accomplish whatever they set their minds to. This commitment produces a welcoming and comfortable environment for everyone, which shows how this is a university that is invested in the success of all students.

What can BSU do better for racial equity and justice? What advice and ideas would you offer to us as we do this work?

The university can improve racial equity and justice by recognizing the significance of representation for Latines and other students of color. BSU must understand the unique aspects of each racial and ethnic group. Greater awareness of each culture and racial group on campus will lessen ignorance and assumptions of groups of people. Listening to the voices and suggestions of students of color is a critical part of creating a better environment at BSU for everyone.


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