Where were you born and raised?
What is your occupation?
Educator and educational nonprofit manager at City Year.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Attending the opening of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum with my grandfather who was a baseball coach for 3 & 2 League. Listening to him sharing stories about the time he was in Chicago playing in the Negro Leagues. While also noting the inspiration to coach.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month means the opportunity to intentionally focus and honor the impacts of Black figures throughout all of history and the world. This is the month that I got the chance to add Black History facts to the daily curriculum without worry of recourse. It is the opportunity to grant attention to the Griots in our neighborhood.
What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
I wish there was a simple answer to the most important issue facing the Black community. So as of now I will say unapologetically affirming and confirming that Blacks matter in every space, industry, and lives. Making the the moves to ensure that future generations will not have to go to the streets shouting, "I am a Man," and "I'm Black and I'm proud," and "Black Lives Matter," etc.
When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
Growing up I did not have a choice not to recognize I am Black in America as I attended African-centered schools of Ladd, King, and Southeast. My elders instilled in us their worries, hopes, and dreams by preaching to us, exposing us to traditions and stories like Roots, Amistad, Malcom X, and I am Martin. I knew it meant that I would constantly have to live to higher expectations, respect authority even without it being earned, and support those that follow me as I am next in line to face the challenges of society, demand change, and make dreams come true.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
My biggest inspirations are my Grandmother Charlie Mae Falls and my students. Charlie Mae Falls came from Clarkdale, Mississippi, with an 8th grade education and hands that picked cotton and was able to navigate life, raise children whom all obtained education, and still hold her own speaking and reading in-front of crowds. My students are like me, journeying to improve for the present and future. They are my accountability to continue growing and striving to make dreams come true.
How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
I have spent the entirety of my career contributing to my community from serving with Jumpstart KC, leading summer programs with Upward Bound, being an educator at Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology and Kansas City Neighborhood Academy. Presently I serve as an impact manager for City Year KC at Whittier Elementary, am a member of various community organizations, am a board member for the School of Economics, The Village KC, and REI-KC. I am running a grassroots campaign for Missouri State Senate District 7 as a write-in candidate. I believe that we must obtain educational prosperity, economic progress, and civic relationships to foster trust and opportunities for honest conversations, harmonizing relationships, and solutions for, not only ourselves, but the people. "It is not about me but the people. #FullerForThePeople"