“Your hair, it is so…” fill in the blank: “fluffy,” “big,” “weird,” you name it. People said these things to me while they ran their hands through my hair as I walked to my history class. They were not used to the natural hair of a Black girl who always wore her hair slicked down and straightened. Needless to say, I never did it again. It took too much time out of my day running to the bathroom in between classes to tame the frizz that had occurred in my twist-out because people continued to touch my hair without my permission. This was my life for 12 years at a predominantly white Catholic school in Ann Arbor.
Being Black was not necessarily something I was proud of growing up because I was different from everyone else, and it is not easy to embrace something when no one is else similar is around you. To me, being a part of Michigan in Color is a way to not only get to know more about myself and my Blackness relative to the world around me, but to get to know other people of color who may have experiences similar to mine. I love being able to connect with people over storytelling and I think that MiC gives me the perfect opportunity to do just that, even if it makes just one person on this campus feel like they have a community that supports them. Becoming a part of MiC allows for different perspectives to form and new relationships between people of color on campus to develop, and in this turbulent time period, that is what is needed most.
There is power in storytelling and sharing our experiences with other people, and I think Michigan in Color is a perfect platform to ameliorate the voices of those that need to be heard the most. I have already seen the growth that so many contributors have had during their time at MiC, like Adam who was vulnerable about his personal growth since joining Michigan in Color. Knowing his experience gives me hope. I am but one person, but I know that my passion to learn about the experiences of people of color, as well as sharing my own, is what is going to make the biggest difference of all.