BSU Unites Black Students from Across Chicago

By Middle and Upper School Director of Studies Sven Carlsson
Parker’s Black Student Union planned and executed a historic and successful social event this past Saturday, bringing together 275 students from 13 schools across the Chicago area. Billed as the BSU Social, the event consisted of an hour-long discussion and open dialogue about life as a Black student in a predominantly white institution (PWI), followed by two hours of dancing, fun, food and festivities. Unique to the discussion was the positive framing, as junior and BSU Co-Head Hudson Davis said during the Opening Remarks: “the theme of the BSU Social is Black Excellence, so instead of focusing on the negative things we experience at our PWIs, we wanted to focus on the good. We are keeping our questions positive so we can have good vibes throughout the night!”

Bringing together all these students from across Chicago was a herculean effort several years in the making. The BSU Social was actually the vision of the BSU co-heads, senior Audrey Hunter and junior Spencer Dunbar, whose platforms, when running for office last spring, included this dream of a massive gathering of Black students from across Chicago. As Hunter said when she opened the event on Saturday:

I ran for BSU head my junior year, and on my platform, I wanted to have a meeting of the BSUs…I made it a goal to make this happen my senior year before I left Parker, and a huge thank you to all of you guys for helping me make that possible. Spencer had the same idea as me when she also ran for BSU head in her sophomore year. She had worked on the Young Women of Color Symposium planning committee and was inspired by the affinity group time. Our BSU leadership team spent many nights on FaceTime discussing the event’s structure, theme, colors and decoration. We spent time scrolling through the school’s websites to find the [various schools’ BSU faculty and staff sponsors’] emails or asking you [students in attendance] to send them to us… And that is how the idea of the BSU social started.

Again, the BSU Social was the first of its kind in Chicago, and we send a huge congratulations to BSU Heads Hunter, Davis, Dunbar and junior Gabriel Vilus for successfully making such a unifying, encouraging and uplifting event happen. Seeing hours of planning and work come to fruition for these four exemplary Parker leaders is a delight.

Please click here to see photos from this wonderful event.

The BSU heads thank all the chaperones from all the schools that attended, and they give a special shout-out to Parker BSU sponsors Ms. Shepard and Mr. Carlsson for all of their support and guidance.

Special thanks to portraitist and artist Ceninye Harris for his photography of the event. Mr. Harris was introduced to our community by DEIB Director Erika Prahl and has been partnering with Parker to artfully document aspects of school life, ranging from the Cullen J. Davis Young Men of Color Symposium to the inaugural BSU Halloween movie night to an ongoing Black History Month project.

Stop by the Kupcinet Gallery to see a full display of Black Excellence.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.