I’ve always loved storytelling and I’m always searching for new ways to tell stories. I love singing, performing, art, music and, most relevantly, writing. Since I’ve started college, I’ve added some new passions to my list. I’ve started to write poetry as a way to express my thoughts and feelings. I’ve also expanded the genres of stories I read to include plays, articles and magazines.
When I discovered Michigan in Color, I was quickly able to add it to my list of passions. The concept of MiC was completely foreign to me, but I immediately fell in love with it — a section in a newspaper dedicated solely to people of color to share their experiences and identities. Though I’ve always enjoyed writing, my identity as a person of color has never been the topic of my writing, or something I’ve even considered writing about.
My identity has always been something with which I’ve struggled. Growing up in a mostly homogenous society, I’ve had trouble feeling like I fit in. In high school, because almost everyone around me was white, my main goal was to just blend in. I never brought up my Nigerian heritage, my identity as a black person, my Muslim and Christian religious backgrounds, because I was trying my hardest to make sure everyone forgot them (secretly with the hopes that I would too).
But since I’ve come to college, I’ve begun to see my identity, especially as a person of color, as something of which to be proud. I’ve met so many people that have helped me realize my different identities are things to uphold instead of hiding. What I love about Michigan in Color is its ability to elevate people of the identities they are typically shamed for. I love how it’s a space for people to be open and vulnerable, to share the hardships and triumphs they face as a person of color for people to resonate with and learn from.
I still have a long way to go in embracing who I am, but I know Michigan in Color is definitely a step in the right direction. And not only is it an opportunity to help me accept my identities, it’s a privilege. I have been given the privilege to help others embrace their own identities while educating others about these identities at the same time. I’m so lucky to be given this privilege, and as an assistant editor, I will make sure it never goes to waste.