By Tori Ledoux ’23
The Black and Latino Union or as many of you may know it, BALU is a very important affinity group here at the Frederick Gunn School. BALU was created when the Black union and Latino union both decided to merge into one, which occurred last year. Since the union’s merger it has been growing immensely.
BALU is an affinity group for black and latino students here on campus. The club is currently led by its two co-creators Lucy Sanchez and Sidney Mutau. The meetings create a vulnerable space where people can have these conversations which are sometimes difficult .
In their meetings the affinity group discuss aspects of being black or brown people and specifically students in a PWI (predominately white institution) and plan activities to celebrate diversity. When asked what happened in their most recent meeting as said by Co-founder of the club Sidney Mutau “Last meeting we discussed exciting opportunities for students to engage in indigenous peoples month such as the American Indian Museum”. BALU works hard in making everyone feel supported and accepted in our Frederick Gunn community.
The group has a lot of goals, and attempts to create a fun safe space for black and latino students at FGS. A goal the club really focuses on is to educate people on race and culture, and have comfort and confidence in being a Black or Brown community member at FGS. BALU provides a safe space for students of minority backgrounds. The club wants to build comfort in asking questions and sharing each other’s stories and experiences.
BALU has a lot of upcoming propositions and ideas and are even discussing a possible change in the name of BALU. As Sidney Mutau stated when asked about this name change she said “The plans for the name change are to incorporate “hispanic” heritage into the group so we plan to add/change the name to BHALU.
The importance of what the group provides to students is significant. Having safe spaces which this affinity group provides, can really help students on campus feel comfortable and not be afraid to be vulnerable. BALU makes everyone feel supported and accepted in our Frederick Gunn community, and is continuing to grow and try to help even more people.