One of the great gifts of having a blog is being able to use it as a versatile personal platform while providing relevant content to my audience. You can see that I write quite a bit, but I’m not sure if you’re aware that I am also a speaker. Yes, that’s right. I am a SPEAKER.
According to my bio, I am a sought-after speaker on all matters related to young people. I talk to and about young people regarding friendships, bullying, interpersonal /social media communication (including sexting) and dating dynamics. I also speak with college students about leadership development, legacy building, mentorship, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
On February 27, I was honored to be a keynote speaker at my alma mater, Southern Methodist University (SMU). The Black Alumni Association and the Association of Black Students (ABS) hosted their Fifth Annual Black Excellence Ball to honor the 2016 Black Alumni of SMU History Makers and celebrate the ABS Scholars. The theme for the evening was “Black Mustangs Matter.”
Now in light of recent events in our communities, I’m sure there are those who cringe at the thought of only “Black Mustangs Mattering.” It might be reasoned that “ALL Mustangs Matter.” Some may say that the theme was divisive, insensitive, and discriminatory.
However, I hope that we can agree that there is a need to raise awareness and promote change to make our society less divisive and discriminatory, and more culturally sensitive to best serve us all.
This event acknowledged the fact that 1.) Racism still exists and is perpetuated on many levels (including systemically), 2.) Less than 10% of SMU faculty are Black (and even less are tenured), and 3.) Less than 5% of SMU students are Black.
These issues should be concerning to all Mustangs, as we are all impacted. Thus, when the SMU organizations selected this theme it was an affirmation of the fact that indeed “ALL Mustangs SHOULD Matter,” but the current situation does not really reflect this position.
But, get this. I didn’t talk about ANY of that during my speech! I spoke about my experience at SMU and why I enjoyed my time there. I talked about how as a student, I learned the power of my voice. I shared how sitting around the table and in classes with students and professors who did not look like me gave me confidence, courage, and clarity on who I was and who I desired to be. At SMU, this Black girl knew that she mattered.
Take a look at this video to see me speak. I hope you enjoy it. It was recorded by my dear best friend forever/little sister Brandi. She and her twin sister were so kind to come from Houston for this event. They are both alums of SMU as well, but I think the purpose of their road trip was a little more personal (they LOVE me) and I’m forever grateful!
Brandi wanted me to point out that recording video of people is not her day job. I think she did the best she could, but at times, you’ll notice that she was DEFINITELY enjoying herself :-).
One thing that didn’t make it to the video before the battery gave out is this: Saying that “Black Mustangs Matter” doesn’t mean anything if it is not truly ingrained as your personal belief. Demanding change of any kind isn’t effective unless it first starts WITHIN.
I’d love to hear your thoughts so feel free to post a comment below or drop me an email at Shanterra.