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Marcus Garvey Cultural Center Student Stories: Keep Moving Forward

Rachel Retland

Rachel RetlandRachel Retland
February 16, 2021

As an Elementary Education major, I have an awesome responsibility - I will likely be the first, second, or third of my ethnicity and culture to step foot in some classrooms. In fact, I very well could have accomplished this already through my practicum this semester! I cannot afford to be afraid to grow or be educated in what my ancestors fought for – to create an equitable space for individuals who look like me. They saw me as a priceless, positive, life-changing human in their dreams before the world even knew me and paved the way for me to continue the fight.

One thing I am doing now to grow in the right direction is getting connected with my own family, many of which grew up dismantling racism in their day-to-day lives, while also indulging in audiobooks and listening to speeches of influential Black icons regularly. Finally, I’m learning how important community is, despite our differences among one another, and I am here to say that if you ever felt as though you failed to learn about the momentous history and legacy of Black activists in this country, the little steps you take, such as mine, are seen as momentous in the eyes of our ancestors in Heaven. Thus, anyway in which you can move forward in your identity and knowledge, whether through social activism, the immersion of texts and history, or dismantling false narratives and negative mindsets, both about and within the Black community, is better than staying still.

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