Advocacy is the New Black: “Education is the Key to be Seen and Heard”

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Tierra Thatch is a bright young student who sees the world as a footprint of change. Meaning, whatever step she takes, she sees herself as a vessel of change for her community. “If I can do anything at the end of the day to help someone else to become a better person, then I’ll do that.” Thach says.

She’s a nursing student at Jacksonville State University who finds her inspiration to become a nurse from her family; more specifically, her brother. Her brother was born with a hole in his heart and spent a lot of time in the NICU. Thach feels she has a “caring soul” for young children which is inspiring her to pursue a career in pediatrics.

Thach found her passion about the importance of her community and culture through one of her family members. Her uncle is the current President of the NAACP in Limestone County. She had the opportunity to work alongside him and got to witness him providing resources for his community. Her education comes from being involved in church and the Boys and Girls club.

Thach is from north Alabama. Her move to the deep south helped her to realize many in her hometown were more privileged with resources. That is why she wants to change the trajectory of educating minorities on campus. She wants to help those who haven’t had the opportunity to access proper resources.

Thach is involved in various of clubs and organizations at Jacksonville State University. Including: Freshman Forum, SGA Senate, First year JSU Ambassador, Gospel Choir, Students Activity Counsel and the first Vice President of the NAACP.

Her involvement with the NAACP has evolved over the semester, just as the organization’s presence has changed. Now, more minorities are involved on campus, and there’s more availability for minorities to learn about their culture. Even though the NAACP has been on campus for a while now, a lot of students are just now participating in the organization due to rebranding. Thach explains the benefits of being in this organization. “This year we are looking to rebrand and get bigger and stronger. The NAACP personally, is not only educating but advocating for minorities on campus and in the community,” Thach says.

The main focus for the NAACP is to help minorities find a place to grow and learn about their culture. Thach claims that going to a PWI (predominantly white institution), is hard for minorities because of the lack of culture on campus. The NAACP strives to not only teach minorities, but all students on campus.

Jacksonville State has also rebranded when it comes to culture. Having more availability for minorities to feel welcomed on campus. “JSU is definitely growing into the minority spectrum,” said Thach. “We are the friendliest campus in the South, and I will stand by that. But being in a PWI, some minorities feel like they won’t find themselves here.”

Thach also wants to see more education for minorities on culture and who they are as people. “Society looks at us as an endangered species, that we are not knowledgeable enough. Watching our every move, and making sure we are okay, just okay,” Thach says.

While attending a PWI college, some minorities believe that they cannot find the right resources for finding internships or securing jobs. “We do have the right resources,” Thach believes. “Are they being promoted as we want them to be? No. Do minorities look into those resources as often? I would think no because of the stereotypes society has put on us.”

Thach also believes that the NAACP can help minorities prepare for the future by building up resumes, helping minorities get involved, and helping them secure jobs. She also thinks there are plenty of opportunities for Black students to get involved at JSU. “You just have to find yourself. Coming to campus, you have to know what you want and find out what is your end goal,” Thach said.

Thach says she’s helping in the NAACP’s rebranding efforts by finding different and unique ways to help minorities grow. She uses her experience of struggling to find herself. Her confidence has grown while at JSU, which has helped her find her voice. “Be your true self and do not step off your own pedestal,” Thach suggests to new students. “If someone judges you, walk away and be the bigger person because that helps you grow.”

Black representation has inspired Thach to be the change in her generation. It has shown her that black representation is important since many have not experienced the same representation in their own households. For Tierra, being Black is believing that you can walk in a room where respect is being given. She believes it’s part of being her true self and that she doesn’t have to apologize for being Black. Tierra strives to continue to use her platform to bring out the good; that they too can be successful and they matter.

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