My Identity is Loud

“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

                       -Audre Lorde

As a woman of color, if I let other people’s standards of who I should be define me, I would not be where I am today. I have had to find the strength within myself to be able to be resilient and allow my identity to be a catalyst for my success. No sort of hate can silence me, not even the oppressive systems at the University of Wisconsin-Madison can silence me. 

I make sure to occupy a lot of space so people are always aware of my presence in a room. I am a journalist and that is where I find my strength. I make sure to write loud. Even though words on paper or on a screen often seem silent to the average person, I make my words loud. I write loud because it is through writing that I share the different experiences I have had on this campus and can connect with others. 

I come from a very diverse city, one of the most diverse cities in the country. Los Angeles raised me, so coming to Madison was nothing less of a culture shock. I had to adapt to being one of the only people of color in many different spaces. I walk into the store and I instantly feel followed by workers, I sit in class and listen to microaggressions and ignorant comments about race, and I realize that more than half of the students on this campus don’t know what it’s like to be not just a person of color, but a woman of color. 

I recently was accepted to UW’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and I attended our orientation where I could count the women of color on one hand. I feel limited in the spaces that claim to welcome me, but the Red Gym is my safe haven. It is where I feel the most celebrated and appreciated. The Red Gym is my home away from home. Being a woman of color on this campus, it is not always an easy task having to navigate through all the different and uncomfortable spaces. But I still get through it. I work hard to make sure I am making a name for not just myself, but all the people who have come before me and laid down the path for me to be successful. 

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