Black Student Union (BSU) vice president Harmonie Lane (left) and president Kionna Johnson (right) pose for a photo together in BSU shirts. On Sept. 6, Black Student Union announced its first all women officer team, led by Johnson and Lane.
Black Student Union (BSU) vice president Harmonie Lane (left) and president Kionna Johnson (right) pose for a photo together in BSU shirts. On Sept. 6, Black Student Union announced its first all women officer team, led by Johnson and Lane.
Madeline Rivera

Sisterhood through leadership

BSU announces first all-women officer team for 2023-2024 school year

Black Student Union (BSU) announced its first all-women officer team for the 2023-2024 school year on Sept. 6. BSU sponsor Alisha Hensley said this has not happened in the four years she has sponsored the club. 

Hensley and co-sponsor Marcus Osby created an officer application form at the end of last school year for students interested in applying. After completion, students would then attend an interview with a staff member not involved in BSU. Hensley said it was to “take out the bias” from Osby and herself. All of the students who filled out a form and interviewed with teachers were women.

“Those teachers sent me and Mr. Osby some feedback from their interviews,” Hensley said. “After they interviewed, Mr. Osby and I sat down to select who we thought was the best fit for the leadership positions.”

Hensley said that when selecting officer positions with Osby, specifically president, the choice was decided by the prospective student’s time management skills. Another factor was that the president had to be a senior and willing to give plenty of time to BSU. As a result, senior Kionna Johnson was announced as BSU president.

“[Johnson] mentioned that she was graduating early [this year],” Hensley said. “[She] said that because she’s graduating early, she would have more time to dedicate [to BSU] in the spring semester.”

Johnson has been a member of BSU since her sophomore year. Throughout her membership, Johnson is a frequent helper in the homecoming committee, taking leadership roles for decorating classroom doors and coordinating BSU’s homecoming parade float.

As president, Johnson is in charge of everything BSU related. She creates slideshows, interactive ways for members to meet new people and learn new things at their biweekly meetings. Alongside vice president Harmonie Lane, Johnson coordinates events for the club to participate in, such as movie nights or cookouts. 

“[Lane and I] like to give the [members] fun new ways to learn information about their culture,” Johnson said. “I think the textbooks are outdated. If you ask anybody, [they may] only know three people: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. [and] Rosa Parks — maybe Harriet Tubman. In BSU, we have trivias — members can use their phones and find interesting Black figures so they can learn something new about our culture.” 

After Johnson was appointed president, Lane was selected as vice president. She has been in BSU for two years and was the community service officer last year. Lane’s job consisted of making sure all BSU seniors and members were volunteering, getting their hours and managing graduation chords. Lane said that, from her perspective, being a member of BSU means spreading her culture in her community and allowing others to understand it better. 

“I want to have more people involved — BSU is a lot more than what people think it is; it’s a family —- it’s a culture,” Lane said. “You don’t have to be Black to be in BSU, we love allies. We love having everyone involved; I want people to love the community [of BSU] and be able to spread the love of BSU.” 

Johnson and Lane’s main goals include getting more members involved at school events, offering more community service opportunities and creating a bond with members that can last beyond graduation. Lane said their all-women officer team is breaking gender and generational barriers. 

“I didn’t realize we had an all women BSU officers [team] until we took our pictures,” Lane said. “I was literally like ‘this is girl boss.’ I love that they’re all just beautiful Black women, able to take control and take charge. Back then [in history], women didn’t have that much of a voice, so knowing that we can take over and be heard is great — having [women leading] in BSU with Black women involved is very special to me.”

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