The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

BSU President optimistic about future plans here on campus

Taylor McClure, BSU president and journalism major, speaks to the crowd gathered while BSU members stand in front of the stage during the peaceful demonstration hosted by the City College Black Student Union held to educate students of their rights and to encourage them to get involved on campus in the quad Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (Julian Martinez/[email protected])

Following an event held by the Black Student Union, the club’s president is buzzing around the stage as the crowd begins to disperse. She makes conversation and fills the quad with laughter, going from groups of peers to faculty back to peers, all with a smile on her face.

Though the job of BSU president is taxing, Taylor McClure doesn’t let it show.

“It’s very stressful. It’s my second form of activism. It’s very thankless and exhausting, but somebody has to do it,” said McClure.

This is McClure’s first semester serving as BSU president, though she’s been with the club off and on for a while. She assumed the position in July 2019, after the previous president, Joshua Robinson, who served for four years and is now treasurer for the BSU, resigned to have more time to focus on finishing school. With an open position and no one gunning for the job, McClure decided to run for president.

“I ran for president because I know that under my leadership, the group has so much potential already, we can get things done in an adamant time frame,” said McClure. “We only have so much time in a semester, and between us being students and our own lives, it can get very hectic.  And I know that if I’m president, I’m the best person for the job to make sure that BSU looks good. We look good on paper, we look good in person, and we’re getting what we need to get done for our community, on and off campus.”

McClure’s hopes to continue building the relationship between the black community and the BSU, provide more volunteer opportunities for the BSU, and build and sustain genuine allies in faculty at City College who will continue supporting the BSU long after McClure is gone. 

“We already have a huge presence in the community, and I believe that it’s who you know half the time, rather than what you know. If we need to raise money, or if we want to host a forum, or even just wanted outreach to our high school students, we can, because we have that credibility in our community,” said McClure in an email.

McClure’s passion for planning and organizing helps her take on the bulk of the job. She’s responsible for creating, coordinating, and staffing events, as well as picking up decorations and materials for the events, and reaching out to people for attendance.

“[As president] you’re doing a lot. It’s like you’re a chauffeur, but you’re an activist, but you’re the team mom, but you have to be the good guy and the bad guy,” said McClure. “You have to appeal to everyone,  you have to collaborate with other groups. You have to speak in correct ways so your group doesn’t get misconstrued. That can be hard in itself, too. It’s a lot. You have to carry a lot of people. Even though you’re a team, you have to wear all the armor of the team just in case.”

Debra Crumpton, business professor and co-faculty adviser for the BSU, believes McClure has been effective and levelheaded in her approach to the presidency.

“She provides leadership and direction in BSU. I’ve seen growth and maturity in her, just in this one short semester,” said Crumpton. “She comes at things very serious, but with compassion. She is doing her best to navigate some really complex issues.”

The Black Student Union holds events such as Ebony Aura, a monthly talent expression show. It is a safe platform for black people in and out of the college community to perform any talent. The people attending and performing range from City College students to high schoolers from Sacramento and Roseville, kids who are part of dance troops, and parents of students.

“We had a girl do opera. It was awesome. The crowd was making beats, and she was getting all into it. It was amazing,” McClure said. “We always have live paint and a DJ.”

The club also hosts movie nights once a month, as well as puts on workshops at high schools with low populations of black students. The goal is to generate black power and to provide a safe space for students on campus, according to McClure. 

“That’s what we come in and do. Like, this is how you can generate black power on your campus. And that’s just being an ally, standing up for yourself, knowing your rights as a student, getting good grades. Doing stuff for the culture, the right way—that’s how you can generate black power. So we teach that at our workshops every year, and we just revamp it.”

Taylor McClure, BSU president and journalism major, speaks to the crowd gathered during the peaceful demonstration hosted by the City College Black Student Union held to educate students of their rights and to encourage them to get involved on campus in the quad Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. (Julian Martinez/[email protected])
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The BSU is also at the African Marketplace monthly, which McClure said was similar to a flea market but with black businesses. They sell BSU merchandise such as sweatshirts and T-shirts, bookmarks with encouraging quotes from Black Panthers members, and calendars with facts about African Americans on them.

“We just get to see all different vendors and cooperate in group economics. Which is you know, you sharing money with your community, and just recycling money. And granted, we go to Arden Mall, or the corner store, but we always try and push going to the African market and vending,” said McClure. “To people who are part of the BSU or see us there, they know you can still go to school whether it’s a JC or not. And you can practice spending money with your people as well, on top of you spending money outside your community, too.”

McClure, a journalism major, has done freelance photography, shooting family portraits and events since 2011. She recently started her own podcast, Blue Cup Convos, which will be out sometime in December and available on Soundcloud, Apple podcast, and Anchor. According to McClure, Blue Cup Convos will revolve around uncomfortable conversations that are necessary to have, such as how being gay and brought up in a religious family affected someone, or the trauma of losing family to gang violence. It will also contain lighter discussions and movie reviews, and will allow listeners to choose the questions McClure asks. 

“Basically it’s a discussion and review based podcast. But definitely answering some real questions, and talking about real topics,” said McClure. 

McClure’s latest dream though, is a combination of her passions.

“I really want to own a newspaper or a radio station. I want to run a radio station, and I want to just play good music, and I want it to have interviews as well,” said McClure. “I believe getting the word out is just so important. I’m glad I found my place in the BSU to do so, but that’s what I want to do.”

As president, McClure is hoping to bring positive changes at City College for black students. She feels that City College needs to do a better job of bridging the gap with black students. 

“The school pushes the diversity on this campus, but when it comes to dealing with specific issues pertaining to black students, I feel like they don’t want to talk about it. Like it’s a touchy subject,” said McClure. “That’s what’s really unfortunate about how the school deals with black student issues. I feel like they really just want us to shut up and go to school, when the fact of the matter is that we’re going to school, and we’re trying to be here. But we also want to feel like we’re safe and we belong; that’s our right to do so.”

McClure also emphasized the importance of City College being more open and honest in their wording while addressing black student issues.

“Don’t group us all together, ‘people of color’, when we’re talking about black student issues. It’s very aggravating,” said McClure. “We had an issue with some racist words and threats to black students in the bathroom. We closed the bathroom down and had a thing out here. And it instantly became, a people of color, let’s all be sensitive towards the subject—which was not the point of the movement.

“It was to inform people that we are not safe. This is an issue we deal with on a daily. And when you say you’re going to ‘kill n-words’; you’re targeting black students. Only black students. It’s fine to be diverse and it’s fine to collaborate, the BSU is for that; but when it’s time to talk about our issues, we have to be realistic.”

Though McClure believes City College needs to improve how it deals with black student issues, she is still optimistic about the future of the school for black students. 

“I believe that for us to be a group on campus with a high retention rate, our main goal is [not only] to keep students here, but to keep them educated in their history. I know that as president that’s my main goal, and I can’t fail if I stick to the plan. If I stick to the BSU’s mission, I cannot fail. I’m very confident in that.”

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  • AnonymousDec 12, 2019 at 8:48 am

    Very well written, great piece!

  • Q

    Queen TaylorDec 11, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Beautifully written, really!