Kujichagulia – Self-Determination; to define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
[Book Year Three]
Blaise Zabini and Dean Thomas waited nervously outside of Deputy Headmistress McGonagall’s office. They’d been waiting for 15 minutes. It was awkward, to say the least.
“You think she’s making us wait because she thought we’d be late?” Dean said, fidgeting nervously. Blaise stared at Dean’s tapping trainers with derision.
They stood in another awkward silence, neither boy having spent this much time with the other outside of classwork, but Blaise did his best to pretend it wasn’t, examining his wand for scratches and rubbing his finger over them. It was a week after their initial Hogwarts BSU meeting and the two felt they were ready to officially register the club with the school. Which meant meeting with the Deputy Headmistress.
Soon enough, Professor McGonagall came bustling towards them, clearly frazzled.
“One day those Weasley twins are going to be the death of me! Come on in, Thomas, Zabini.”
She opened her office and they walked in behind her. Blaise usually tried to avoid McGonagall. Hogwarts had little care for students who were allergic to cats and her office always made his throat just a little itchy.
She sat behind her desk and eyed them over her rectangular frames. “So what is it that you two wanted to talk to me about? I assume you need mediation. What’s the fight about?”
“Oh, no fight, Professor,” Dean said. McGonagall furrowed her very thin eyebrows.
“Then what could you possibly be here together for then?”
Dean and Blaise looked at each other.
“We’d like to start a club,” Blaise said, addressing her for the first time. She seemed shocked to hear him speak, turning her attention from Dean, who she knew better since he was in her House. But Blaise did perfectly well in her classes, even if he could barely get a word in edgewise with Granger popping her hand up every three seconds.
“Go on.” She gave them a curious look before waving her wand with a small flourish. A drawer off to the side of the room opened, a form on parchment lifting itself out, and floating to her desk. McGonagall’s quill propped itself up and prepared to write. “What is the nature of this club?”
“We’d like to start a Hogwarts Black Student Union,” Blaise continued.
The quill paused when Blaise said “Black.”
“I’m sorry, a what?” McGonagall’s voice didn’t give away how she felt about the prospect of such a club, so Blaise kept going.
“A Black Student Union. The club bylaws allow for cultural clubs for the purpose of creating community.”
“Yes Mr. Zabini, I am aware of the bylaws for clubs. I helped create many of them.”
“We know there have been clubs like this before, Professor,” Dean said. Then he specified: “For Black students.”
“Ah, well, not for a few decades.” She cleared her throat, “We haven’t had that many students of African and Caribbean descent in the past few years, so no students have run such a club. I believe the last time we had one it was called the Pan-African Magical Alliance.”
“Well, we’d like to start one up again. In this new name.” Blaise said.
Both boys stared at McGonagall.
“Are you two going to be able to work together?” She asked shrewdly.
They looked at each other. Dean smiled wryly. “We’re finding ways to compromise. The club was his idea anyway.”
McGonagall looked at Blaise with raised brows.
“It’ll look good for the Department of International Magical Cooperation,” he said simply. Blaise, of course, had Ministry ambitions, but the club was something he felt he was going to need if those ambitions were to ever come true. He was tired of feeling alone, in a place where almost everybody found community, no matter who you were. Even that bumbling Longbottom kid had friends. Blaise didn’t think he was made for being alone — his mother didn’t make it look appealing. So he was creating his own thing where it didn’t exist.
“Well then,” McGonagall said, “as the founding member’s Head of House, I will be your club advisor—”
“Ah — Professor, as much as we like you…” It wasn’t quite a lie, Blaise thought, but he had to grease these palms and remain true to what he and Dean had discussed, and he knew Dean wouldn’t be able to sell the next part. “We would like a Black professor to be the advisor. Like Professor Sinistra.”
Blaise could feel Dean’s leg bouncing and wanted to glue the Muggle-born’s trainers to the floor, but they weren’t versed in wandless magic yet.
“Right. I see. Well, sign here, you two. We’ll have to get Professor Sinistra to agree and sign as well before the club is official. Read over the club rules. There’s an orientation for new clubs that club board members must attend, and you must put on an event every semester. Failure to do this or comply with the rules will result in suspension.”
Blaise and Dean signed the form — Blaise’s signature featuring bold capitals and orderly lowercases, while the artist Dean’s signature was swooping and large next to his.
McGonagall magicked the paper into her cabinet. Then, there was a bang. She sighed and stood.
“Those Weasley twins truly might be the death of me.” And with that, she strode to the door and held it open for them to exit.
“I hope you both get what you are looking for with this club.”
“We already have, Professor,” Blaise said. Dean grinned at him, and Blaise rolled his eyes and groaned. Would he ever let him express an emotion without making a big deal about it?
But Blaise had a feeling this was about to be the best decision he ever made.