Black Student Union unites marginalized teens


Danielle Stein

Black Student Union members gather to discuss their club shirt design.

James Bryant, Reporter

A lone student stands silently in the hallway, sighing in despair as a sea of people brush past him. He feels different. He feels as if he doesn’t belong. With a mind full of darkness, he desperately tries to escape this relentless feeling of loneliness.

This student, like many others, feels that no one understands him. As teenagers, this isn’t an uncommon experience, but the color of someone’s skin shouldn’t have to contribute to it. Luckily, there’s an opportunity to make students similar to this one feel less alone.

The Black Student Union is a club that invites people of the African American race to discuss racial topics. The club often goes over matters like Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Black history, Black music, and anything related to Black culture. Because of this, the club welcomes everyone and creates a familial bond among its members.

“I would consider them my family, just because we come from the same backgrounds, and have a lot of similarities with each other,” said sophomore Aliya Permaul, the BSU social media manager.

The members have clearly created a connection and with it they share many similar experiences. According to, only 6.97% of people in Oviedo are Black. Because of this, people can feel left out or discriminated against.

“During Black History, people started to bring up a lot of dirty things and made a lot of racist comments,” said senior Talia Harrison.

The founding sponsor of The Black student Union club, Kimberly Finnegan, wanted to create a safe place for the students and give them an escape. People of color are often able to connect well with each other because of shared experiences, and the club provides them a fun, safe space to be themselves.

“I wanted to start [the BSU] because we do have a relatively small population of people of color at the school, and they’re very underrepresented in most of the activities that we do,” said Finnegan. “It’s a place where people that kind of share a common experience can come together and support each other.”

Finnegan’s contribution to the club has put a significant impact on the members of the BSU. She sponsors a student-led club that allows the members to talk about any topic of their likings. The members love her, and she ensures all the meetings run as planned. 

“Finnegan is a very fun teacher and it is so easy to talk to her,” said Talia Harrison. “We got snacks and some games, and we really just always have a good time.”

The president of the club, senior Riyan Tuck, enjoys her time with the club each meeting. She understands her role as the president and wants to create a family-like bond for all the members – including new ones. 

“We definitely formed a tight-knit family feeling last year and I see that forming now with the new members,” she said. “Even with the new people we had today, they felt that family type closeness, and that’s what we want to achieve at this school.”

The BSU has only been around for a year, but has already grown wildly in popularity. Their bond is special, and is one of the few clubs where everyone can relate to each other on a certain level. Being in high school can make you feel a sense of fear and loneliness. In this club, no one is left on the sidelines and all feel welcome the moment they step into Finnegan’s room.