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Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Zeakia Jordan '24 February 19, 2024

Black students at the University of Dayton held the sixth annual Black Action Through Unity Black Excellence Ball, informally known as the BATU Ball. The annual event closes BATU week, a week of activities honoring Black History Month, and allows students of color to come together to acknowledge the pains of the past and look toward joy in the future. 

This year’s theme, Heaven on Earth, was created by the event’s committee to exemplify what Black communities strive for in their everyday experiences —  harmony with one another and those of other identities and backgrounds, said junior Tyrone Smith, historian of BATU. He holds the theme close to his heart. 

“It’s hard to see ourselves as Black excellence with everything going on nowadays ... ”

“It’s hard to see ourselves as Black excellence with everything going on nowadays and this is a way to celebrate that we are the standard, while bringing others in to join in our celebration as well,” Smith said. 

Founded in 2017, BATU Ball is a way for Black students to come in their best dressed in fellowship with others who experience the same pressures, trials and tribulations, according to their mission. Many attendees said they enjoy this event, being able to fully immerse themselves in the pride of what it means to be Black. 

First-year student Nakeya Doughman, member of BATU, attended the ball for the first time. 

“Getting to spend time and take pictures with peers and seeing their smiling faces outside of class was the best part of BATU Ball,” Doughman said. 

For BATU’s leadership and members, BATU Ball’s future can only grow, continuing to make a safe space for students of color at UD and serve Black students in remembering the importance of their history, while encouraging a successful future.

Photography by Ifeanyichukwu Nwanoro '23.

Thank you, Frank