I chose AAAS because, over the course of my Ursinus career, I have gained a passion for studying black life, especially as it pertains to the lives of minorities at Ursinus.
There wasn’t a particular class that influenced my decision. The first class I took on race was with Dr. Keita. She has so much soul and was the first person to really challenge me as to what being black truly meant. Rev (Reverend Charles Rice) challenged me even further to correlate past race issues with present ones. He too taught me about a history that I would have never learned otherwise. As a black student growing up, you don’t have many black individuals to look up to in History classes. They teach you about every white president and every white person who made history yet only lightly dip into Martin Luther King Jr. & Rosa Parks. I was not aware that there were hundreds of more people like them who worked extremely hard to get blacks the rights that they now rightly have today; people such as Fannie Lou Hamer who co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, John Lewis who opened Freedom Schools and launched Freedom Summer as the chairman of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), or Ella Baker who was a major activist and behind-the-scenes organizer. These people were essential to the movement for equality but you never hear about them in your standard history class. I wouldn’t have known about these individuals if it weren’t for Rev’s Civil Rights and Religions Class. That class inspired me to engage in my newfound passion for social justice work through art.
My curiosity to understanding my identity as a black female in this world heightened my interest to independently study black life and then specifically African & African American females on and off campus. Scudera guided me towards doing this through two ILE courses as well as mentoring me for my Summer Fellows project on the experiences of minority females in and around the Philadelphia region. I combined Africana studies, dance, & poetry writing into a creative piece via videography. Dr. O. explained to me that taking a few classes will help me better understand why black people are treated in a certain way (stereotypes, microaggressions, discrimination, blunt racism, etc) even if done unintentionally. The course I took with him really broadened my understanding of black life. He gave me the foundation I needed to understand and tackle everyday issues with race.
Skills or knowledge I hope tp gain from my AAAS minor are I’ve gained the foundation to better address issues with race as it pertains to my future and my future projects with writing, theater, dance, and teaching.