Real Talk Space extends an “Invitation to Allyship.”

Hello there, Maryville College! It feels odd not to introduce myself, especially since this is my inaugural post to a quite prestigious publication. The Highland Echo is the place where students can share their ideas and thoughts while empowering a collective purpose rooted in scholarship, respect, and integrity. 

See, I thought such a goal was out of reach for me. For all intents and purposes, I should have been dead long ago or at least reduced to some sort of statistic that lends credibility to the constant barrage of news stories that highlight people of color either as victims or social parasites. Rebellious as I am, there is no way that I can stay quiet or fit into a design to make others comfortable.  

I am Angela Jamison Anderton. I am a McGill Fellow, Sociology Major, and I am forty years old. I live on campus with you. We are connected; we are a family of people that want to do good on the largest scale possible. 

I play jazz flute, I am insanely curious, I have mental health issues for which I receive accommodations, and I am a Black Queer Feminist. Before all these tidbits, I am a human being with dreams bigger than my tenderness can sometimes handle.

 It is great to meet you. It has taken me a long time to get here.

As a token of appreciation to you and the role you play in campus life, I have an offering to you that serves as a gift, lesson, and opportunity. In my culture, Black women are the center of vitality, connection, and nourishment of every persuasion you can think of. To be a Black leader means that there is a welcomed spot at my table, no matter where you are from, what you believe, and how you identify. 

This safe space, between the myth of perfectionism and the wholeness of vulnerability, is a place in which judgments have no place in a conversation. Instead, your soul is being fed by way of active listening and truth that is delivered with a laugh as a chaser, a hand squeeze as reassurance. We call this Real Talk. 

We have a serious problem right now, y’all. Our transgender siblings, sisters in particular, need our help. Every year more and more women are being murdered out of sheer hate. This kind of hate is rooted in a sense of fear, a lack of understanding, and a desire to hold one type of person superior over another. We cannot let this happen. 

According to Forbes Magazine, 350 women who identify as transgender were killed for just existing. Out Magazine reports that within the first six weeks of 2021, six trans women were killed in violent deaths. What can we do? 

It is up to us to be the defining change of our generation. We must unlearn what has been normalized as hatred and relearn what it means to be empathetic, compassionate, and supportive of others despite the status quo. I want to normalize what it means to be open and radically honest with oneself. What does it mean to you to be human?

 It is no secret that you will be successful by worldly standards. I mean, after all, you are a Maryville College student. You are already in the historical record as an impactful being doing good on the largest scale possible. 

However, what does this designation really mean? What happens after graduation when you are faced with the reality that people will do things that you were taught to believe were fundamentally wrong? Real Talk Space is your opportunity. 

Maryville College Student Affairs has created a new empowerment/affinity space for inclusive and intersectional women’s leadership on Maryville College’s campus! Real Talk Space, a once-monthly safe space, for and by students, is open for people to safely discuss issues surrounding (but not limited to) sexism, racism, intimate partner violence, transphobia, and their intersections. 

The first meeting will be held March 19, 2021 at 2:00 pm. I am honored to facilitate a discussion about dismantling Transphobia and Homophobia with allyship. Please register in advance for this meeting here: https://bit.ly/2NOBvZg

I look forward to hearing, seeing, and honoring you, in whatever capacity you show up.

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