Where were you born and raised?
Kansas City, Missouri.
What is your occupation?
Director of Education and Family Engagement.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
When I think of my childhood, one of the first things that comes to mind is Friendship Village. Being an only child, I spent a lot of time there with my cousins riding bikes and chasing ice cream trucks. "The Village" was the place to be. Foot races down 56th street on hot summer days and cool nights at the "Big Park" will forever live in my mind.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History month is the nation's chance to be exposed to the magnificence of Blackness and Black culture that we as Black people celebrate all year round.
What do you believe is the most important issue currently facing the Black community?
Systematic inequalities is my overarching answer. When you sit and think about any system that this country has set in place, Black people and other minorities have always been an addition or an afterthought. Our lives and our rights are the 101st piece to a 100 piece puzzle. We try to make it fit, but it was not built with us in mind.
When did you realize you were Black in America and what has that meant for your life?
Being raised by grandparents, who were both from the South, I always knew I was Black. Society made me aware of my Blackness on a local college campus, having campus police called for sitting on a stoop. What I know to be true from how society has attempted to suppress us as a culture, is that Black is resilience and Black is majestic.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration to push for change?
As cliché as it sounds, it's the generations that come after me. When you know better, you do better. The lessons that we learn aren't meant for us to hoard. Our young people start off behind in what you think would be basic knowledge and spend a good portion of their lives trying to catch up. I want to be the person I needed as a Black girl growing up in Blue Hills.
How have you supported or contributed to the local Black community?
Supporting organizations like the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, who's mission is "to enable African Americans and other disadvantaged persons to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights." Programming covers many different aspects from workforce development and financial literacy classes to college and career readiness. I've had the pleasure of working with other local education organizations like HBCU walking Billboard and Entitled Learning. Both programs focus on empowering and encouraging our youth and communities. Last and certainly not least, being a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, I love to spend time volunteering with our youth programs. Our Delta G.E.M.S. program has poured into my life just as much as I have given into it.