In celebration of Black History Month, Like a Boss Girls talked to students from campuses nationwide to get their perspectives on what it means to be a millennial black woman in the world of higher education. Read on for part one of this two-part series:
Cinneah El-Amin, 20 Barnard College Africana Studies
“I am a black woman who is radical, complicated, courageous, carefree and fueled to fight for her people. College gave me the tools and language to fight oppression. Near the end of my sophomore year, I made the decision to major in Africana Studies—a major not seen by most as tangible or career-oriented. It was the right choice for me—I am inspired, uplifted, challenged, and affirmed by my academic studies.
College has also given me a network to connect with other black women. I serve on the Executive Board of the Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters and just recently attended the 20th Annual Black Solidarity Conference at Yale. I left the Conference feeling invigorated and supported by other radical black students from around the country.”
Victoria M. Walker, 22 Howard University Broadcast Journalism
“To me, being a black woman in college this Black History Month is like history coming around full circle. Black women have fought for years for the opportunities that I now have, and I don’t take those sacrifices lightly. The phrase, “because of them, I will” comes to mind.
Being a student at Howard University only magnifies the BHM experience. Howard was and is an incubator for black history. Everything that I’ve had the opportunity to do in college was made possible by someone sacrificing before me, and I acknowledge and respect that.”
Kia Imani Robinson, 21 Hampton University Strategic Communications
“Being a black woman in college means that I have embarked on a journey that I am certain will open a world of opportunities for me. Being in college also grants me the opportunity to defy stereotypes that have been placed upon young black women. Now, more than ever, my community, my family, and my race are counting on me to serve as a role model and an inspiration to other young black women that may have once questioned the importance of attending college. This Black History Month, as with any other month, I owe it to many ancestors who fought tirelessly and diligently to take full advantage this this college experience.”
Lauren Porter, 21 Syracuse University English and Textual Studies
“In 1978 at the Spelman University Commencement, Nobel Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison said, ‘…You are a woman. You don’t have to choose between marriage or work, a career or children. What is the history of black women in this country? WE DID IT ALL. We were fierce and loving. We were energy and passive, we were travelers and haven, we were warship and safe harbor. WE DID IT ALL. And I beg you; no matter what anybody tells you, do it all my sisters. Do it all.’”
When I ponder about what it means to be a black woman in college, even 40 years after Morrison’s comment, I think of her words. As a senior attending Syracuse University, my blackness is a constant factor in my collegiate experience both in and out of the classroom. Being the only person of color in the room full of people who don’t understand what it is like to experience the world with an irremovable target on their back is sometimes daunting, overwhelming, and uncomfortable, but it’s a blessed burden that I would rather have than not.”
Kiera S. Austin-Reffell, 21 Hampton University Business Administration
“Being a black woman in college means appreciating who I am and taking advantage of the opportunity of higher education to continue to grow and develop as I identify mediums to share my ambitions and successes and encourage my peers.”
Want to read more? Check out part two of the series.
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- 15 Things I Learned On My First Solo Trip to Europe - November 18, 2016
- 7 Reasons Why Phoebe from ‘Hey Arnold!’ was a Silent Badass Boss Girl - October 24, 2016
- 5 ways you can end sexual violence on college campuses right now - October 9, 2016
- A New Boss Girl Anthem from Beyoncé’s LEMONADE - April 26, 2016
- Boss Girls On Campus: Five College Students Talk About The Power of Black Womanhood & Education - February 9, 2016
- #BHM: 5 College Students on the Power of Black Womanhood & Education - February 8, 2016
- Boss Girls on the Street Share Their Summer Success - July 7, 2015
- Words of Wisdom From The Mamas In Our Lives - May 6, 2015