TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Joshua Hamilton calls Black History Month a moment to educate everyone, especially African American students on campus at the University of Arizona.
"To kind of reflect and be introduced to black individuals, black radicals, black folks who have shaped what this country is today."
He's in a prime spot to do just that, as Director of African American Student Affairs.
This last year presented highly publicized social issues for people of color, especially the black community at the university.
"Because that could be any of them, and not is that...It is them."
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery: a few names that have inspired the social causes of late, Hamilton said could be anyone one of the black students at the university.
"They are them; you don't become a student and then take off your blackness when you enter into the institution."
A racist attack was reported on campus in September 2019.
Two white men were arrested, charged with attacking a black student who claimed they said the n-word while beating him.
This example, Hamilton said, shows even on campus, black students are subject to things that happen in other parts of the country
"What becomes a large social movement for everyone else is always close to home for black folks."
Hamilton said 1,500 black students had been enrolled at UArizona, before the pandemic, just a fraction of the 40,000 total.
He said since the early 90s, African American Student Affairs or 'AASA' has been a beacon for them on campus.
"What I would say what our space provides is a home away from home."
This part of the university, Hamilton explained, offers students a place to organize, whether they want to protest, communicate, fundraise or just to be a on similar plane with their peers.
"Ultimately, overall, black people really just want to be, be able to just be without having to go through these things."