Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
I have a habit of feeling for the people I write about. Carrying them with me if you will. I have seen so much this summer, a lot of it sad. People without health care. Children abandoned. Homeless people who thought it would never be them. I'm not at the point where I can write without emotional attachment. Maybe I never want to be.
The best journalists, I think, bring people from their last pieces to their next stories. I wrote about a woman who hasn't been to a primary care doctor for the last twenty years, (http://bit.ly/E8xXd) and children who cope without fathers (http://bit.ly/4RlYi). I saw the connection in the struggle of the two. They may never know each other but they are both making it and I'm proud to say I told their stories.
Here's my summer so far: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/staff/articles/yamiche+alcindor/
Several stories, a couple of videos, and work on done directly from my iPhone.
I hope it makes my mom proud.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
It's copied below:
An Affair of Struggle and Joy With My Second HomeBy Yamiche Alcindor
At this year’s Black Student Alliance Visions of Excellence Ball, an alumni speaker noted in a speech that while she couldn’t remember all the classes she had taken at Georgetown or what books she had read, she did remember that she had loved and was loved. In reflecting on my four years here, her words make more sense now than they did that night. I would, however, make an addition to her words: While I loved and was loved, I also fought and was embattled. The professors, Jesuits, students, staff and others I have met at Georgetown will envelop my emotions for years to come. Georgetown taught me more about human beings and myself than I could have ever imagined. When I walk across the stage on Saturday, I will be saying goodbye to four years of my life where love and hate met, and proceeded to make love every day.
I say this because along with my love for the Hilltop and its stated Jesuit values comes my disappointment in the facets of the university that remain unaccommodating and ultimately biased culturally. As students of color here continue to feel alienated and second-class, I cannot help but say that graduating from Georgetown is bittersweet. I never felt quite like a Hoya. While I have come to love the university, the culture associated most closely with the university always seemed distant. At times, I felt overwhelmed with a thought: Maybe they do not want me here.
While I became accustomed to being one of a few students of color in my class, as a native of Miami, this took a lot of getting used to. I struggled with DPS reports that described men that looked like my brother — 6-foot black men in dark jackets. I struggled with professors who assumed I played a sport because of the color of skin. No, I do not need to work around my sports schedule. I came to distrust DPS officers that seemed most present at the parties thrown by the Black Student Alliance and other students of color. I became frustrated when I realized how little power I had as a student in voicing my disapproval of the way students of color are made to feel here. And most painfully, someone has drunkenly called me the “n word” more times than I care to mention.
Over the last four years, I have cried, screamed and been frustrated with people, the administration and the overall unaccommodating culture on the Hilltop. Nevertheless, in those same moments, I was growing and falling more in love with the beautiful struggle that is Georgetown. While here, I had to better understand my identity and question the idea of being black. I had to accept the social constructs of race while still understanding the concreteness of walking outside my door and simply being black to all who look at me. Between town hall meetings denouncing this very publication and late-night talks about life, I learned how to deal with people who may not always agree with me. I learned that I do believe Georgetown can and should do a better job of not just admitting but retaining and nurturing the students of color here. Through all these experiences, I also drew closer to my faith. I truly came to own my Catholic identity.
If I could give anyone some advice about Georgetown, it would be this: Make it your own. Take classes that make you happy, enjoy people’s company and do not compare your experiences to others’. The friends I have made, the people I have come to love and the moments that I have shared with others will remain with me forever. I leave Georgetown ready for the next step in life. Like many students graduating this spring, I don’t know what I will be doing next year, but I have a support system born out of Georgetown that will help me get there.
In a journal entry I wrote the summer before starting at Georgetown, I reflected, “I am going to Georgetown looking for something that I can’t quite verbalize.” Four years later, I realize I was looking for an understanding of others and myself. I was looking to fill a void in my life left by absent family members and societal prejudices. In filling that void with God, friends and family members, I fell in love with Georgetown, and it is as stressful as any loving relationship. I toss and turn with its ideas. I make love to its best parts. And I wake up every day happily holding its memories.
Yamiche Alcindor is a senior in the College, a former co-editor in chief of The Fire This Time, the current resident director of the Black House and the second vice president of the Omicron Pi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Read my favorite article chronicling the impact of Hurricane Katrina on teens here.
Also, here's a video of me explaining why I chose to graduate without a job for the love of telling stories: click here.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
While out shopping Saturday, I came across a t-shirt amongst the loads of Obama paraphernalia circulating DC that said, "Obama is the New Black." At first I smiled still proud of my country for electing a man whose hue is close to my own. Then it hit me, the new black? The new black meaning the old black was what?
As a scholar of African American history, I can't help but cringe at the idea that Obama is somehow being separated from the centuries of struggles people who looked like him endured with perseverance. Sunday at church my pastor reminded me just how much went into the new generation of blacks. People hoped, prayed, fought, and most importantly waited for the day when their work would pay off. All they asked, I believe, was for someone to remember they existed, for someone to remember their part in a long walk to freedom. I remember them and I believe anyone proud of this country's history should too. Thus, the "old black" share in Obama's strength and passion.
No doubt President Obama's new position puts him in the upper echelon of political circle. But his drive, passion for his community, and willingness to risk it all for change is shared by many people of all races. Obama is not the new black. This line requires me to let loose the painful rememories of the struggles of people and put him at the top of my race. I won't.
Obama is in a new position but both single mothers working to make a difference and young college students eager to put their talents to use share his characteristics and hopes for a collective change.