The month of February is dedicated to celebrating Black History Month and with that the contributions of Black women who are most often overlooked.

Black women throughout history have always been in the fight for equality. Most have their own experiences with oppression which offer them a deeper understanding of the convergence of race and gender.

As history moves forward, the talk has not changed in its meaning. Today, it’s only in another context as Black women still face many trials and tribulations in the workplace, in education, and in daily life.

Which brings the question: How should Black women in society take all this? What advice should young Black women growing up have?

I am this years Miss Tennessee Petite, I’ve gotten my picture put on the 2022-2023 planner and I have almost finished my associates degree. I’ve struggled with keeping motivation while in school and working while there are so many terrible things happening around me. I have also struggled with keeping peace and patience while people constantly degrade me and diminish me to nothing but an “angry Black woman”. Well, that’s not who I am. I am a passionate, loving, hard working, tired young Black woman, who wants nothing but to see other people shine. Everyone deserves to have someone who is there for them and I want to be there for the new generation. My advice would be to never give up and give those children the best version of you because that is what you deserved when you were younger.

Diavion McLilley, sophomore with a major in Prek-3 Education
Diavion McLilley sports her Miss Tennessee crown and sash with pride

Christina Sanders, a single mother of two boys, and a nontraditional student is an outstanding entrepreneur who landed her first corporate client, the city of Memphis.

Keep learning, keep growing. Your skin color should never hold you back, but push you forward. Be so great, they can’t help but say YES!

Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Christina Sanders
Christina Sanders, a nontraditional student, and mother of two

“I am a single mother of two boys. I am divorced and definitely a nontraditional student. Don’t allow your circumstances to stop you from dreaming big and going after your goals. You are here to LIVE OUT LOUD. Be bold in who you are, with grace and compassion for yourself and others.”- Christina Sanders

Black women continue to face many injustices and crisscross inequalities. Yet, these trailblazers as those exemplified at APSU are the key to a world where Black women are uplifted and supported. We must do our best to engage in the community around us not just today but every day.