Juneteenth, Black Lives, and College Admissions
I know there is a ton going on right now, so thank you for taking the time to read this post. I’m making it short because I hope you’ll take some time to click on some of the many, many links I’m including in the “Ways to Learn More — My Summer (and Ongoing) Anti-Racism ToDo List.”
When I was a little girl growing up in deep East Texas, I’d see Juneteenth picnics at the park every summer, but I was never taught the significance. My education failed me. It wasn’t until I became a teacher in the Sixth Ward in Houston that I learned the history, but I didn’t teach it — I failed my students. So now, too many years later, I encourage you to take a minute to read more about the history of this special day as we begin to celebrate Juneteenth beyond Texas and as a nation. You can start here with a NYT piece from a fellow Texan: Juneteenth is a Reminder That Freedom Wasn’t Just Handed Over.
You might be wondering how these momentous events of our times relate to college admissions and why someone who calls herself AdmissionsMom is writing to you about Black Lives and Juneteenth, and I would respond with: how can learning more about anti-racism, our country’s history, and its historical effects on education not relate to college admissions?
Independent Projects and Research
I always suggest rising seniors and juniors engage in some kind of personal or independent project, and I can’t think of a better way to dig into who you are and your beliefs than to dig into how you feel and relate to the seismic movements going on around you. And, even if you’re not on your admissions journey right now — if you’re looking for more ways to engage and learn more about the history of the US, the treatment of Black people in the US, and how you can start your own personal anti-racism journey, I’m attaching my in-progress AntiRacism Summer ToDo list here. It’s filled with books I want to read, movies I want to watch, podcasts I plan to listen to, and even museums I plan to visit or revisit.
Creating your College List
As you’re considering colleges for your list, research what they’re saying about the Black Lives Movement. Are they just giving lip service to ideas, or are they examining their own history as a college and looking at ways to improve their anti-racism actions? What messages are they sending you as applicants if you choose to exercise your right to protest peacefully? Are they sending any message at all? Study their webpages and social media for their communications about their Black students, and then follow up by learning about their history as an institution. Maybe even consider reaching out to some alums or current students to see if the colleges’ actions back up what they are saying publicly.
Take Care of Yourself
I truly hope that every one of you is doing well, but it’s ok if you are feeling overwhelmed, angry, sad, scared, or any other feeling you may have. Whether you are marching in the streets, educating yourself at home, donating to bail funds, obsessing about college admissions, or just doing your best to get through the day, remember to take care of yourself too. Reach out to friends and family you may not have seen in a while. Take a walk. Play a game. Read a book. Remember to breathe.