University of King’s College
Being a black student leader on my campus is an act of resistance. It means looking at a predominantly white campus and choosing to speak on behalf of those who are not represented. It often means choosing to do that work alone. It means entering historically white spaces and creating room for marginalized voices to be heard. It means looking around a roomful of leaders and decision makers and feeling as though you have infiltrated a place you were never expected to be in. It means reflecting on my own privileges, and bringing that reflection into every conversation I have in my role. It means building ties with a beautifully resilient community, and listening to the voices of my friends, my peers, my role models, and the leaders who have gone before me. It means learning to be angry, and to channel that anger into change. It means learning to be patient. To be a black leader on campus is to choose to exist, learn, and educate in a space that inadvertently erases black voices, but it is to do so with a strong and passionate community at your sides.
Julia-Simone Rutgers is a journalism and contemporary studies student at the University of King’s College. She currently serves as Communications Vice President of the King’s Student’s Union. She dedicates much of her time to combatting barriers of accessibility within the structures of her university and her union.