Celebrating Black student excellence at TU
Meet members of TU's Black student organizations, and learn about what their organizations and Black History Month means to them
By Cody Boteler '17, Japhet Chukwuma '24 & Kyle Hobstetter on February 20, 2022
Black History Month at Towson University is a chance to celebrate the past, present and the future by talking with students currently on campus.
Earlier this month, several members of Black student organizations gathered together and answered questions ranging from what it’s like to be Black at Towson University; why they joined their organization; and what Black History Month means to them.
Helping with this project was Keiwana Perryman, associate director of student development and diversity in the Center for Student Diversity. She works primarily with TU’s African American Student Development Program, and was excited to watch as some of her students had the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences with the entire campus community.
"Our students are always looking for platforms to share their stories, Perryman says. "Opportunities to showcase our cultures and highlight our experiences with the larger campus community are few and far between. I am appreciative of this one. While Black History Month is a collective time to share the narrative of what it means to be Black, our students do this every single day. And that makes me happy and very proud."
Meet 10 students (and two staff members) who represent just some of our many Black student organizations on campus.
Tahera Rhamdeow '23
Biology | St. Mary's County, Md. | Ujima Coordinator
“It’s important for me to be involved as a Black woman on campus because Black women bring that special oomph that you need at all your organizations. It’s also important to have someone who looks like me and within my age group showing other students that it’s possible to get involved on campus."
Kyler Young '22
Health Education & promotion | Baltimore |
Black Student Union Events Coordinator
“In Black History Month not only do I get to cherish things about my community but I get to see other people indulge in and learn about things they typically don’t learn about. There are a lot of things in history that go unheard of but I love diving into that.”
Maliah Mayo '23
Sociology | Prince George's County, Md. |
Public Relations Chair, National Council of Negro Women
“Coming in here I was very shy and reserved. Stepping out and being part of National Council of Negro Women has made me feel like I have a support system and that I can be myself. It shaped me to be a leader and handle things in the proper way as a Black woman.”
Rose Marika Mwansa '23
Communications | Tanzania & Zambia |
Public Relations Chair, African Diaspora Club
“It’s critical to have these Black organizations because it offers support for the Black community year-round and it’s a place I can go and feel comfortable. It influences how I perform in any aspect of my life.”
Jason Jones '22
Economics | Baltimore | President, Brotherhood
“Brotherhood is a space that we cultivate for young Black men to truly, freely and uniquely be themselves. It's not exclusively for Black men though, because the only way we get better as individuals is through the community.”
Psychology | Pennasauken, NJ |
Graduate assistant, African American Student Development
“I am entering a field where there's not many people that look like me, but the population of students that I will be serving are going to look like me. It’s important that I'm going into this setting using my background as a Black woman to benefit them.”
Naomi Carroll '22
Psychology & Philosophy | Baltimore |
President, Bettering Black Minds
“I chose Towson University because it was very important to go somewhere where people look like me. I remember my first time on campus taking a tour and seeing so many people of color. Towson's diversity is amazing and that made me come here.”
Antonio Robinson '24
Political Science | Richmond, Va. |
Community Service Chair, Towson Chapter of the NAACP
“I got involved with the NAACP because I’m invested in the advancement of all minority groups. There’s a lot of engagement with the community of people with dilapidated conditions and I wanted to be a part of organizations that gear towards that.”
Lewam Siltan '22
Health education & Promotion | Silver Spring, Md. |
President, Ethiopian-Eritrean Student Association
“Black history month is important for everyone because we have to know the past to be better in the future. It’s also a way to pay tribute to the Black-American pioneers and realize the work that has been done but acknowledging that there's still more.”
Japhet Chukwuma '24
Photography | Lagos, Nigeria |
Assistant, Towson University Photographic Services
“Black history month means a lot because we can see our people prospering and thriving. It’s an important time for the rest of the world to recognize that. I want to continue to photograph and promote Black people as a community. I want to help their voices be heard, that makes me happy.”
Director, Center for Student Diversity
“To me, Black History Month is a promise kept. I think that is the best way to sum it up. I remember growing up, there was a paper placemat at a Hardees, and that Black History Month placemat talked about Carter G. Woodson and why he created Black History Month and why it was only a week when he first started.
For me that’s always stuck in my head, that picture of Carter G. Woodson, looking out and forward, and to me that was his attempt to establish something for people to carry forward, and to adapt and change as they knew their communities would need. To me every time we celebrate Black History Month, there is a little bit of keeping that promise."
CSD Associate Director, Student Development and Diversity
"Black History Month, to me, means celebrating all things Black… food, culture, history, people. When talking about minority or marginalized identities, we often operate on a black-white continuum. However, my students are from Ghana, Jamaica, Haiti, Ethiopia, and right down the street in Baltimore. I take pride and assume responsibility for my community by learning from all of them. Being Black is not a monolith, it’s an EXPERIENCE."