“I definitely think growing up Black in Utah your experience is very different, because the world views you differently or treats you differently. But a recent experience that I had, me and a couple of friends were celebrating a birthday dinner and when we were walking back, we were all just laughing, you know. It was a pretty good night. And some guy was like, “Hey, shut up,”The N word with a hard r.” and that’s just been stuck in my mind. I don’t think we realize that as people when we use such negative terms like that it really sticks with us and there’s not a day that I don’t go by without thinking about it―that someone felt it was okay to talk to me that way without really even knowing me.”
“Something about myself is that I grew up in the LDS church. I’ve kind of shifted myself, drifted away or distanced myself from the church but I do remember my freshman year, everybody wanted me to take seminary, and I was very excited about it, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to take seminary. But it ended up hurting a bit more than I had expected. I remember some of the boys in that class just texting me or speaking to me in a way that was very inappropriate and I do remember one boy, they sent me this text in a group text that was like, “you have massive Black― “ whatever, and it was just really inappropriate. I didn’t really see the need for them to include my skin color, because I know that I am Black and am proud that I am Black, I definitely have no shame in that. And that just pushed me further away from things. So there’s things that we enjoy, things that we look forward to, but because of others, they really do push us away from that. And it’s not about whether, “don’t let people change your mind”, we’re talking about a word and something that has 400 years of history behind it until today. Black people are still being discriminated against and facing hatred on a daily basis”.
“I think a way we could all improve is that we all need to learn how to be anti-racists. We need to educate ourselves in every aspect of our lives and look for systematic racism and ask ourselves, “What role do I have to play in this? How can I contribute?” And you don’t have to do all the work, because I know as a Black woman one way that I stay lifted is I know that I’m not the only Black woman fighting the fight or trying to make change. There’s many people. Make friendships with people out of your circles. Because then you will have an experience, instead of just hearing what the world tells you―Black people are this, Black people are that―you have actually created a relationship with somebody. So just diversifying your circle and educating yourself.
Something about Black culture that I just find amazing is that through all the heartache and pain that we have with us we still find a way to celebrate the good and the little things in life. I always feel like I have a lot on my shoulders but when I get to hang out with my Black friends, I just pour out my heart and I know that they’re listening and they understand where I’m coming from, it always makes the next day worth living and looking forward to. So I definitely think just how strong we are, just how proud of who we are and where we come from, no matter the odds that have tried to defy us or break us down, we’re like a fighting group that never gives up and just remains strong”.