Please describe your current and/or previous roles that relate to your work for justice and equality.
My role as the director of Intercultural Development provides an opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge to enact social change for the Lafayette community. The work of justice and equality presents itself through; meaningful dialogues during training sessions, planning cultural programs with student organizations, or celebrating a heritage month(s) with the Lafayette community.
What about your work brings you the most joy or gives you the most pride?
As a Black man, being an administrator for my alma mater gives me a sense of pride that goes beyond the duties of my job. Sharing both institutional and cultural experiences with many of the students is what keeps me going. Students are truly the Vanguards to many movements both historically and currently. It is extremely inspiring to be able to help students hone their intellectual curiosity as well as their own zeal for justice into a tangible program or event. That kind of work is what makes me feel whole.
What is your most meaningful moment or significant accomplishment (as it relates to your work for justice and equality)?
A significant accomplishment in this role thus far was hosting a multicultural competency training for student leaders during orientation. Witnessing how everyone was willing to be “uncomfortable” with discussion topics and frameworks that were unfamiliar to them, which created a space for growth was truly inspiring. The world and our society will never change unless “we” start the conversation with “I” and focus on introspection.
What is the greatest hurdle you’ve had to overcome?
The work we have to do in society on a daily basis is larger than anyone’s administrative position like mine at the College, so the work can be daunting. Our polarization and discourse can feel overwhelming at times. I acknowledge and empathize with many of the barriers and burdens our students face. I often find that one of my roles has been to help students make space for healing and restoration as we work to enhance the Lafayette experience.
How do you empower those around you?
As the director of OID, I believe that I empower others by becoming a kiosk, assisting with accessing Lafayette resources, and guiding students as they navigate the institutional system.
What short phrase would you offer others to inspire them to have hope and/or to take action?
What defines you as a person is what you do after you’ve made a mistake. We are only experts to our own experiences so use your privilege to provide access for others; become a foundation and not a drain.
How has this summer’s civil unrest and calls for equity impacted you?
The events that took place during summer 2020 truly impacted my role as an administrator and as a Black man. As an administrator, I was recharged by the notion that this revolution was going to require the Lafayette community at large to also carry the weighted blanket that many of our students bring with them every day to classes and social spaces. As a Black man, I am tired of all the injustices done to my people seen and more often unseen by the rest of the world. But I have found strength in leveraging the autonomy I have within my position to enact change.
How has your perspective changed since the time you were a Lafayette student?
Now entering my sixth year as a Lafayette administer, my perspective has changed as I have evolved as a person. I recognize my identity as an alum often contradicts my identity as an administrator. As an alum, I developed life long friendships and was given the tools to start to create my vision of success. On the contrary, my nostalgia as an alum creates internal conflict for the vision and responsibilities I hold as an administrator.