The president of the Black Students Association last night called for a "fresh start" to the year, pushing a platform of unity and self-help in the Black community.
Zaheer R. Ali '94 called on students at the BSA's kickoff meeting, which was attended by approximately 70 people, to "get past the bickering and clawing that I have seen in the past" among different Black groups.
He also urged Black students to empower and define themselves instead of passively accepting outside agendas.
"We're not in the practice of tapping into our own resources and doing things for ourselves," said Ali.
Ali's plan for this year, "It's Time to Build," calls for "laboring to end dependence."
Referring to last year's BSA flyer entitled "On the Harvard Plantation," Ali said it spoke to the larger issue that "Black people on campus are operating on a level not unlike that of slaves."
The flyer, which was distributed to every undergraduate room last spring, catalogued a number of grievances by Black students against
The Crimson, Harvard College and the HarvardUniversity Police Department.
"We are not physically shackled or the propertyof others," he said. "But the nation of Blackinferiority is still very prevalent not only amongwhites but Blacks."
Ali said he holds the University responsiblefor maintaining a healthy environment for Blackstudents.
But he insisted that Black students "must goone step further" and help themselves.
"Don't allow anyone to present you with animage of yourself," said Ali. "That is yourresponsibility."
Ali offered a comprehensive agenda for theyear, responding to charges of inaction by the BSAlast year from Point Blank, a Black studentpublication.
The agenda includes a lecture series, communityservice outreach, coalitions with other campusorganizations including other Black and minoritygroups and a Black alumni network.
Last night's BSA meeting included a slide showfeaturing speakers and protests from last year inaddition to Ali's talk