This post was originally posted on prettyforablackgirl.blogspot.com titled "How Did I Get Here?" that shares Nia's testimony of how she made the decision to do the "big chop" and her journey of discovering her identity as a black woman in the Lord.
Nia Campinha-Bacote is currently serving as staff for Chi Alpha at Yale University.
The next 6 years I spent in utter bliss with my Keratin treatments that loosened my curls, but transformation slowly began to creep in.
It started at Brown University when my perception of myself as the “exceptional black girl” was challenged. My experiences in high school had made believe I was the exception to the rule that blacks belonged behind bars or entrenched in poverty. Brown forced me to confront the fact that I had spent 18 years defining black as synonymous with adjectives like ignorant, violent, and poor.
As I enrolled in Africana courses and Ethnic Studies classes at Brown, I began to scratch the surface of what it looked like to embrace the melanin that ran through my veins. I wasn’t perfect and still had (have) a long way to go, but little by little, I began to see how my world had been inundated with things (media, people, images, classes) telling me black was inherently less than. Looking back, I believe it wasn't so much as what I was taught in high school and middle school, but what I wasn't taught. I wasn't taught about redlining--the systematic discrimination of refusing blacks housing loans/mortgages/insurance in specific areas up that still affects communities of color today. I wasn't taught about food deserts--the lack of nutritional markets and non-fast-food restaurants existing in lower-income, minority neighborhoods. The list is endless.
After graduating from Brown, I served a year in ministry as a campus pastor for undergraduates at Yale. And that’s when things got real.
Stay tuned for part 3 out of 3 next week of Nia's journey on drivingdiversity.org!