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Being Black at the University of Michigan

  • Filled Under: Brand Identity, Web Design

In Fall of 2013, the conversation of race and politics began to resurrect amidst college campuses around the nation. After the murder of Trayvon Martin, the U of M Black Undergraduate community was spiritually torn and siloed into a chaos of idenpendently operating organizations, unwilling to unify during one of the most telling times of racial inequality of our lives. It was time for change, but no one knew what type of change was needed to bring our community together. Our team, the Black Student Union, started the school year in mourning, holding a candle light vigil and townhall to discuss our disbeleif as the ugly face of American justice was shown in never ending police killings of unarmed black "suspects." What was to come was the precusor and collgeiate Twitter Movement to #BlackLivesMatter and a host of changes to the University of Michigan's entire Diversity landscape.

#BBUM, or Being Black at the University of Michigan, was a Twitter-based movement that asked students to share their “unique experiences of being black at Michigan.” On social media, students, faculty, and staff were encouraged to post their cultural experiences, sharing the reality of being a person of color

at a predominantly white institution (PWI) using the hashtag #BBUM. The campaign launched on November 19, 2013, and within one hour, was trending nationally across Twitter. Local and national media outlets soon picked up the story, and by 10pm that day, there were over 10,000 Tweets containing the hashtag.

Ultimately, the #BBUM campaign led toward on-the-ground activism such as the Black Wall and an official list of student demands following the unfullfilled promises of the Black Action Movements. The movement gained such traction

that the New York Times ran a front page story. Moreover, the effort compelled administrators at the university to respond to student concerns, leading them to hold standing meetings with the student organizers for the remainder of the 2014 school year.

So what did all of this result in? Our team accomplished the following to effectively change the University of Michigan forever: