MU's Homecoming is widely considered the first in the nation. Historically, though, some groups of students have been left out by the annual celebration.
The Legion of Black Collegians is the black student government at MU and its mission is to develop a lasting appreciation of values that will uplift black students while they're involved in academia. The group also hopes to heighten the cultural consciousness of all MU students to promote positive change.
One of the ways LBC works to uplift black students at MU is its homecoming traditions. These allow black students a level of participation in homecoming they have been denied in the past.
The LBC homecoming shares some similarities with campus-wide homecoming, including an LBC Royalty Court. Its court is open to students of all grades, rather than just seniors.
The LBC Royalty Court has a different category for all age groups ranging from Count and Countess, the freshman category, to King and Queen, the senior category.
LBC’s homecoming festivities are also similar in its commitment to community service but differ in its addition of a homecoming ball. Candidates participate in a series of events that challenge their public speaking and communication skills. These include a debate and a pop culture discussion.
Gabriella Salinas, who along with being a student has her own photography business, is a candidate for Duchess, the Sophomore category. Salinas said her participation in the debate will help her grow.
“Seeing how I can communicate and build my self-esteem will be interesting,” Salinas said.
For Salinas, LBC is more than a way for her to grow personally, she says that its presence on campus plays a vital role for black students in the MU community.
“If we ever feel uncomfortable or ever want to voice and opinion, whether it be political or personal, they’re there for us and there to support the community,” Salinas said.
Diondre Sweezer, owner of Sweet LuvX clothing and peer mentor in the Mizzou Black Men's Initiative is running for Duke. Sweezer explained why LBC having its own court enriches the MU community and lifts black students.
“It's a great thing because it just shows how special a certain group can lead in a certain area,” Sweezer said.
While LBC Royalty Court and the campus-wide homecoming court are similar in a lot of ways, Sweezer also explained how the LBC’s court plays its unique role.
“It’s never a separation, but you get to do something that makes you feel like you’re in your place,” Sweezer said.
Brandon Rollie, who is also running for Duke, explained how being a part of the court has impacted his life positively.
“My favorite part has been networking,” Rollie said. “I’ve met new people that I didn't know or wanted to know and I just feel like I'm getting myself out there more and I like how that feels.”
LBC Homecoming will culminate with the LBC Homecoming Ball where students can get dressed up, enjoy a meal and dance as the homecoming court is crowned. The ball will take place from 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Courtyard Marriott.
Edited by Janae McKenzie | firstname.lastname@example.org