COURTESY OF KELIS BARTON
As a freshman, Kelis Barton took it upon herself to create a space on campus for Black student-athletes to share their experiences and build relationships with one another on campus.
Now, as a junior, she and her peers are inspired by the uplifting community of the Black Student Athlete Association.
Barton, multimedia journalism major minoring in psychology, said the mission of BSAA is to create a safe space for Black student-athletes and allies. The group sheds light on current events and educates the student body on topics, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Although the organization is unable to meet in person due to COVID-19 regulations, they have been able to host meetings online since the start of the semester, she said.
Kalyah Williams, WSU junior sports management major, said having an organization like BSAA on campus brings something unique to the school.
“One thing I really like about BSAA is being part of something that our campus has never seen before,” Williams said. “Being at a school where there aren’t a lot of other Black people or people of color, it is nice to find my niche.”
Jordyn Tucker, WSU junior biology major minoring in psychology, shared a similar story of joining BSAA. She said she is grateful to have a safe space to express herself in. Tucker also said she is grateful for the friends BSAA has connected her with.
“I really like the inclusion factor. I feel like we as athletes have such a strong image to uphold and sometimes that makes it difficult to speak out on current events,” Tucker said. “BSAA provides a comfortable environment for us to share our opinions and educate and inform the student body.”
Tucker said the best way for students to get involved with the organization is to follow the BSAA social media channels, such as Instagram and Twitter, to stay updated on when meetings will be held.
Barton said students involved with BSAA can expect a welcoming environment, where they can share their thoughts and opinions while also building long-lasting friendships.
“It’s been really great to be able to bridge the gap for so many of the athletes in our community here on campus, and we’re excited to keep growing in the future,” Barton said.