Name: Esther Battle
President, Black Student Christian Forum
Interviewed by: Adriana Santana
What made you first want to get involved in BSCF (Black Student Christian Forum) as a student?
BSCF was always there, and I had always been appreciative of Impact, but last year was different. I would say the club took things up a notch, because there was this larger conversation happening with Black Lives Matter and other social issues. They were starting that conversation, especially during Black History Month, and they also were trying to get students to be a part of the discussion so we could have a voice as well. This made me see BSCF as that venue where concerns were brought to administration, especially with Dean (Deborah) Weithers who is our sponsor and powerforce on campus. So in a lot of ways BSCF was the representation black students had on campus.
Just to clarify, last year was the first time you took an active role in the club?
Yeah, it was my first time being a part of being in the Forum Committee.
So what was the change that made you want to take that step from just being on the committee to being president?
Well, they asked me to be president, so that was probably the first time I started thinking about it. A reason they might’ve asked me could be that I was very vocal on campus to the point where I was planning discussions and panels. Honestly, it probably wouldn’t have crossed my mind until they asked me; but when they did ask me, it made sense.
Were you intimidated about taking on this role?
Yes, because Jannel Monroe (senior, theology) had been the president before, and she was just great. Also, a lot of her leadership was really spiritual, and that was really scary to me, not because I am not a spiritual person—I am, but she is much more open. However, I have realized that leadership styles are just different, and I have a team behind me to fill in whatever I lack.
How has being BSCF’s President impacted your life?
I don’t know if it’s because I’m president that it’s impacted my life. I think I learned a lot about how I lead, and how I can best use my skill sets. I just don’t know if I could say I feel any different as a person, but yeah I am definitely learning a lot, and can apply my learning to other aspects in my life as in my career.
Do you feel like you have a big responsibility to be a voice for a certain demographic on campus?
Sometimes, but it doesn’t really bother me because I’m use to talking about this kind of stuff. Also, people were already treating me like that before I even became president, for example I’d be approached to write for the Black History Month section in the newspaper.
Have you had to deal with any criticism with how BSCF is conducted?
I think most of the criticism comes from me; I haven’t had people come up to me and say something. I know I am critical about what I said I was going to do and how much is actually implemented.
Since BSCF is mainly known for Impact, do you see any big plans or forums as influential as Impact in the future?
We definitely want to have more social gatherings, and provide social opportunities for black students to just hang out together. During Black History Month we do have those events that cater to black students, but I definitely want BSCF to grow more outside than just Impact.
In regards to the crisis that is going on in this nation with the ban, do you feel that BSCF has to contribute to this conversation where other minorities are facing discrimination and racism?
I don’t like when black people are given that responsibility to stick up for other groups of people just because we stood up for ourselves. I do think that other people should speak up for their causes, because I can’t speak to your experiences but I can definitely support it. I think the ban is slightly different though, because it’s a global and general issue of social justice as a whole. I believe BSCF could be a force in bringing that conversation, and allowing those voices of concerns from students to be heard.
For people who want to get more involved in the club, how can they do so?
They can contact me, or anybody else on the Forum Committee about being more involved and what they could do.