Black History Month: Fusion intern celebrates her heritage

Kiarra Edwards shares her experience as a biracial student on campus.

Bethsabe Camacho, Deputy News Editor

As Black History Month begins, students at Biola share their experiences and heritage with the community around them. One way students are able to do this is through Student Enrichment and Intercultural Development Affinity Groups. Senior communication sciences and disorders major Kiarra Edwards works as an intern for Fusion, where she creates a space for mixed students of all backgrounds throughout Biola to take pride in their cultural and racial backgrounds.

STANDING OUT

Growing up, Edwards was one of the few Black students throughout K-12 school in Bakersfield. This did not come without its challenges.

“There were times where it felt like the burden was on me to be able to share a Black perspective and everyone would look to me to see what Black people thought,””

— Kiarra Edwards

She felt as if some of her traditions were different than those of her peers and there were moments when she was singled out when learning about Black history.

BIOLA AND FUSION

Biola feels very familiar to Edwards, with only approximately 2.5% of the student body being identified as Black or African American. She explained, however, that even this increase in numbers feels more welcoming than years prior.

Edwards recalls that there have been moments throughout her college career that have made her uncomfortable, signaling there is still work to be done. She believes this becomes evident when it comes to topics such as debating if the Student Congress of Racial Reconciliation Conference should be funded.

She first attended Fusion her sophomore year in search of finding people who understood and related to her experience. As a mixed woman, she felt she did not fully belong to the Black or white community.

“I was living in that tension,” Edwards said. “It helped me figure out that that middle space was totally OK.”

LOOKING FORWARD

In honor of Black History Month, Black joy comes to her mind. According to Edwards, her community is hurting, but nonetheless are resilient in the midst of it.

As for ways in which the rest of the Biola community can rally in support of this month, Edwards advises to not place the burden of needing to be educated on Black issues solely on the Black community.

“It can be a lot when Black people are processing things to also need to consistently share their experience,” Edwards said.

One of the ways Edwards recommends celebrating the Black community is by doing research and finding resources to educate oneself. Another way to celebrate is by acknowledging the contributions Black people have made to society.

Edwards sits among many students of color who have and still struggle to find a place to fit. While this month celebrates heritage, she still sees the work that needs to be done and provides a safe space through Fusion.

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