My life has changed significantly since I last wrote “Why I joined Michigan in Color” — my perspective of the world has shifted and warped with the passing challenges of my time being a freshman, now a sophomore, at a university whose Black population is only depicted on a sports field or on a pamphlet. I am more than my experiences rooted in my high school as being the only Black girl who spoke up during class in a building with twelve other Black students. I am now also a college student who desperately desires for the world to listen more to what is being written in a newspaper section that just obtained their own desk last year in a newsroom that is about to turn 130 years old.
There is no better time than now to put my deepest thoughts onto paper that will be crystalized in a period where my mind is actively observing and challenging the world around me. Being in college has infuriated me, energized me and intimidated me — but has made me come to terms with the person I am developing into while I still have access to unlimited resources to use as tools to forge my future.
I joined Michigan in Color because at a time where writing was my escape into a reality I illustrated with my words and designed with my thoughts — I know now, that this space is more than what I imagined in my mind as being a liberation of my inner thoughts. It t is a challenge. Lessons that can only be learned from the hate mail your contributors receive for a piece or the anger in someone’s eyes because they see your position as threatening in their own white world. There will be no retribution for the moments I spent hunched over my laptop in utter terror at words displayed across my screen to controversial pieces or to threatening emails of exterminating an entire race of people because of a piece that was published. The frustration and freedom I have had the honor of experiencing through individuals’ pieces will stay with me for the rest of my life. The pain and trauma that so many share, but never have had the opportunity to reveal, is heartbreaking but also an important part of healing.
I came back to Michigan in Color because it is so much more than a space where people of color can share their narratives, because this space does more than just share — it exposes, manifests and ameliorates. There is no ease in revealing pain and isolation in a world that was not designed to comfort or console; it is emotionally taxing and one of the most difficult positions that I have ever had the honor of obtaining. The emotional labor of positions that put your name in the public eye to be critiqued and criticised as a freshman was harder than I ever thought the beginning stages of college would be, but it was absolutely necessary.
Without the work of the managers who came before my like Ashley and Jason, I would not be writing this and I can only hope to fill the empty shoes they have left for the newest class of Michigan in Color to fill. Thank you to all who have fought hard to create and sustain such an important piece of this campus for anyone who has ever written and will continue to publish through this platform.