Black women celebrate Black excellence

The Concordia Courier

Vice President of the Black Student Union, Indyah Alex

By Nicholas Esmeral | 2/23/2024

With Black History Month coming to a close, students both in and out of Concordia shared their thoughts on Black excellence and navigating the college experience as a person, specifically a woman, of color. 

Vice President of the Black Student Union, Indyah Alex, said, “It’s a month to celebrate me and my culture.” Alex said, “It is important to know where we originate from and not to forget our history.” 

Junior Alyssa Fulmer celebrates Black History Month because “It’s a way for us to see how Black culture has influenced society.” Fulmer said, “It’s important to see how Black excellence has contributed to America.”

Kira McLeod, a junior at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, shared her perspective as a Black woman attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). McLeod said, “Often, I see our history being erased… Many things are overshadowed or taken away because America is trying to hide certain elements from our history that are hard for people to stomach because it makes them feel uncomfortable.” McLeod added that it’s important to recognize the uncomfortable moments so they don’t repeat themselves and people are still held accountable.

McLeod looks up to Mae Jemison for her contributions to the Black community as the first Black woman in space. McLeod said, “That alone as a Black woman pushes the boundaries of showing what spaces we can enter even when everyone is against you.” Alex said Martin Luther King Jr. is important because of his peaceful approach to equality. “MLK is important because he was a peace activist,” Fulmer said, “Malcolm X is also important because he didn’t promote violence but rather sticking up for the Black people, which is where we get our resilience from.”

“Michelle Obama is a great role model for young Black women in the world,” said Fulmer. “[Actress] Issa Rae [has portrayed] multiple types of Black people,” said McLeod. “Not just the people who are ghetto or sassy, she showed the awkward Black girl or the suburban Black girl.” McLeod said, “Because Black people are put in a certain role that you have to act a certain way; if not, then you’re considered whitewashed and cast out.” McLeod added that Rae made diversity within Black culture feel normal, and she respects her for that.

Alex said, “Black excellence is a way to cheer on Black people for the things we do.” “It’s important to remember how strong we are when facing tough challenges, and Black excellence shines a light on the creativity that we bring to the world,” she added. 

“Black excellence to me is seeing the Black community succeed and prevailing through all the obstacles thrown at us,” Fulmer said, “It allows us to flourish as a community.” McLeod said, “Black excellence is pushing boundaries and stepping into rooms where we aren’t represented and making it known that we can be accepted in this space by putting in the effort.” 

As a Black woman at an HBCU who grew up in a white-populated suburb, McLeod said, “It’s nice not being the token Black person. I can just be a student.” At Prairie View McLeod said she doesn’t feel the necessity to have watched every Black show or to have played spades growing up to feel accepted by her community.

At Concordia, Alex said, “You have to find your small-knit group of people, and many times, there aren’t any other Black people in it.” Fulmer said, “Being on a sports team has helped me feel more welcomed and accepted.” She added, “I see my team more than my family; if I didn’t, I would feel alone.”

Black History Month is a reminder to celebrate the beauty of Blackness and the contributions of Black people to society. It’s a month to recall all the achievements that they have made as a community and mark significant events in Black history, both the good and the bad.



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