Ashleigh and I met in Colorado State’s Student Affairs in Higher Education program (SAHE). We liked each other from the beginning, but really became close when we talked in our Inclusive Class’ students of color caucus group. Ashleigh and I bonded over shared stories as women of color in the cohort. We were also a part of the Students of Color Network (SOCN), which was a great way to connect with others about events that occurred on-and-off campus, hear our friends’ lived experiences, and eat all the food. Additionally, Ashleigh and I worked on other things, such as the SAHE Journal, but that may or may not be relevant to you, depending on how you’re feeling. I also may have proposed to Ashleigh in our finance class for some reason. I don’t even know. For a less #messy account of this, please skip over to Ashleigh’s section. The point is, we had a strong support system in cohort members and each other.
During May 2015, Ashleigh and I (finally!) graduated from the Student Affairs program, We both found that our cohort space, a safe support network we had to process through current events and everyday microaggressions, was gone. I found that I may have had some deeper knowledge about issues, such as the AME shooting or the death of Sandra Bland. I did not, however, have a large variety of people I could sit and cry with on a daily basis. Gone were the days that I could sit and unpack with a cohort member who was just down the street.
However. One one glorious day in September 2015, Ashleigh had the brilliant idea to start this blog. She called me, I replied with a trademark ALL CAPS text of excitement, and the rest is history! This space is dedicated to calling out the everyday isms in both our lives, and is for processing everything from ignorant people to our ideal (and so-far invisible) feminist partners.
Tolu and I met in grad school studying Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE). Our program placed an emphasis on social justice, among other things. There was tremendous support for students of color. So when news of Mike Brown and Eric Gardner hit the news circuit, we had a faculty member reach out and ask how we were doing. When peers from dominant groups upset us, we would caucus. The Students of Color Network (SOCN) got together to talk about timely and relevant issues.
And then, we graduated.
Our support network was no longer a walk down the hall or a mile drive away. This may not have hit so hard had it not been for the shooting at the Charleston Emanuel AME church by a White supremacist or the following Confederate flag debate, or the death of Black women in prisons this summer. But those things happened, and they continue to happen. Without my SAHE and SOCN folks to debrief and cry with, the world suddenly felt very scary to be taken on alone.
We were armed with newfound knowledge of systems of oppression and skills on how to interrupt problematic situations. What we didn’t have was each other.
So, we needed an outlet. An avenue to talk about what is going on in the world and the daily interactions that send our social justice selves into a craze. And this is where the idea for our blog came from. We are social justice advocates living in a world of isms. And we want to talk about it, unpack our experiences. We are not experts and our social justice adventures are just beginning. There will be hiccups and there will be a desire to be better and do better. All we can do is our best and keep trying. We hope you enjoy the journey.