Stockton News

Stockton recognizes Black excellence at 4th annual Black Gala

The 4th Annual Black Gala was held at the Carriage House Friday evening, Feb. 24. The Unified Black Student Society (UBSS), African Student Organization (ASO), and Caribbean Student Association (CSA), collaborated to create a night of black excellence recognition. At the event, they took the time to recognize Stockton’s influential leaders, including students and faculty. 

Omolaja and Brooks, Queen and King of the 4th annual Black Gala. Photo Courtesy of Rachel Rolle.

Janet Martin, Secretary of the UBSS, was on the planning committee for the Black Gala and helped out that night checking guests’ tickets upon arrival. This was the second Black Gala Martin has attended but her first as an e-board member. Martin mentioned some changes from the previous year, stating, “last year was the first time we were off campus as the venue for the Gala, so we were on the Spirit of Philadelphia, this year we’re at the Carriage House. And that actually allows for a little more capacity and for people to be spread out…We have Black businesses that we have hired right now to DJ and for the photo booth. I think that this is something that is really nice, especially, for Black History Month and for the Black Gala.”

During Martin’s interview, she also mentioned she would look forward to hearing Elizabeth Omolaja, ASO’s Vice President, speak at the gala. Omolaja shared her own poem called God Bless America. The poem spoke on the experience of living in a country that did not accept its mother tongue and culture. It brought to light what it means to be “Americanized” yet still not be accepted due to ethnic features. Most importantly, Omolaja chose to pray for the corruption as she still recognizes the country as her home.

Key and Moore, Princess and Prince of the 4th annual Black Gala. Photo courtesy of Rachel Rolle.

Additional speakers at the Black Gala were Kira Key, Vice President of UBSS, Anthony Brooks, President of UBSS, and guest speaker Dr. Chris Catching. The recognized parties of the night were: 

  • Ms. Dianne Stolin- Most Valuable Person Award
  • Dr. Kimoni Yaw Ajani- You Make a Difference Award
  • Ms. Shakira Williams- You Are Awesome Award
  • Queer and Trans People of Color Society- Student Organization of the Year Award

At the conclusion of the event, a King, Queen, Prince, and Princess were selected from the nominees. The King was Anthony Brooks and Queen was Elizabeth Omolaja. The Prince and Princess of the night were Shane Moore and Kira Key. The event ended with an invitation for guests to come to the dance floor and show off their moves. One of the guests of the Black Gala, Paris Mears, comments on his experience of the night: “Well, diverse. Exactly what I wanted to see. 10/10.”