Words from an interviewee:
If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing, working at the university in this high-level position, I’d probably be a prostitute. I could have been. When I was growing up, Blackness was not celebrated. I was the only one in my school, so I was hyper-visible… and also invisible. I remember in the 3rd grade a kid pinned me down and called me the N word. I didn’t know what that meant. My parents had not prepared me for that word. They were upset. I was mad at them for not preparing me. I didn’t feel beautiful. I didn’t think I was enough. I thought a man having sex with me meant I was beautiful. I was in lots of unhealthy relationships. That’s why I say I could have been a prostitute. But I had a mentor and friends who helped me see and helped me get out of that. I had to heal from the inside out. A U.S. without racism will cost us the mirage. The illusion that the system is serving anyone well.