Student Voices: Honoring Black History
Earlier this month, we invited our campus community to take time each day to learn more about Black History. In addition to this invitation, we reached out to students from our campus community to share their perspectives, voices, and personal history. Here are some of their stories.
Tamal Campbell (‘21) – “If you really want a change, it starts with us”
“One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou is, ‘We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter their color.’
When it comes to change, I would tell everyone to get to know more people of color. Fear often leads to prejudice and one of the best neutralizers for erasing fear is knowledge and familiarity. It’s so easy for non people of color to discriminate or stereotype when you don’t personally know someone else’s culture—so just get to know more people of color. I also believe that challenging your own beliefs and actions can help change a person’s thoughts.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to say things. If you really want a change it starts with us.”
Brandon Jamison (‘24) – “We are all human beings”
“Black History Month is one month out of the year where black people are looked at for all of their accomplishments, achievements, and successes, rather than just their athletic or musical abilities. There’s so much more that people can learn by studying black culture.
There were many great black leaders that paved the way for my generation and generations to come. But there is still racism going on today, and we are still fighting to get our voices heard.
I feel like everyone should be treated equally and fairly no matter the color of your skin. We are all human beings, so the color of our skin doesn’t have anything to do with how we are as people.”
Kearra Vernet (‘22) – “I’ve always been taught to be a leader”
“My mom is from the West Indies and my dad is Haitian. Growing up, we were taught to keep your head up. As a black woman, it’s not easy to say what you’re going through—Our ancestors were taught to push through everything. We are constantly in this battle as black women to be like, ‘okay I have to be tough.’
I’m from New York. Especially in the city, you don’t know people’s intentions. As a black woman, you constantly have a tough, fierce personality, so no one can hurt you. Every black woman is raised like that, so no one can take advantage of you.
But this takes a toll on my mental health. My community is often told to be quiet and just take everything that’s being thrown at us. It’s hard being in a battle fighting for something that everyone else has.
When Barack Obama was elected, it was a big thing for the black community. We had never had someone of our own kind, someone of our own skin color taking on this role of leadership, so it kind of empowered us to be the person we want to be.
Michelle Obama helped me realize how much of an effect one person can have on someone else. To make it even better, she was an African American woman, so I felt like she knew where I was coming from.
I’ve always been taught to be a leader and to stand up for what I believe in. As far as fighting for social issues, you could be the first person to do it, or you could tag along with everybody else, but the more the merrier. That’s what it’s all about, we come together and fight for what we believe in.”