If a Student Doesn't Know an Opportunity Exists, How Can They Aspire To It?
I unapologetically want all people of color to win.
However as a homeless high school student, I quickly realized most did not share my sentiment. I didn't know the first thing about college and when I asked for help, most treated me like I was invisible.
It didn't matter that I was a hard worker, intelligent, and determined to avoid becoming a victim of my circumstances.
The sad reality is, as a black woman, I am not afforded the same opportunities and exposure as my white classmates.
I would have to figure things out for myself.
Most of my life has been spent fighting for information (before Google), to learn as much as I could so I could to beg employers, mostly white men, to give me a chance. I often worked for free or allowed people to "pick my brain" just to get a foot in the door.
No one should have to struggle and fight like I did just to be seen.
To be heard.
To be exposed to new opportunities.
To be given a chance.
I thank God for the few teachers and mentors that saw my potential and took a risk on me when everyone else counted me out. I became a teacher because I knew it was my purpose in life to pay it forward. I dedicated my life to education and mentoring students in underserved communities so they too, could develop the tenacity needed to rise above their circumstances.
But that's not enough.
If a student doesn't know an opportunity exists, how can they aspire to It?
After five years of rejected museum applications, I finally got the chance to transition from teaching history, to working with history. As an educator, I became obsessed with the way information flows from cultural institutions to underserved classrooms-- or doesn't due to a lack of inclusive outreach.
Regardless of the museum, most exhibition teams, marketing departments, membership staff, visitation and outreach committees, education departments-- basically the entire museum structure is overwhelmingly whitewashed.
Representation and inclusion are almost impossible at any level of a museum because a majority of the staff are not representative or inclusive themselves.
No wonder it took me so long to land a job in the space.
I created Curated x Kai as a digital platform designed to curate the numerous cultural institutions that make diversity and inclusive outreach a priority, not an afterthought. As technology shatters barriers and increases exposure, a large part of my company will be geared towards prototyping mobile, virtual and augmented reality solutions to increase accessibility for students who may never have the opportunity to visit.
It's my goal to disrupt the system & create a community with readily accessible information about cultural events, created by people of color, for people of color.
As I typically work behind the camera, I'm pushing myself each day to be in front of the camera to show students someone who looks like them, in spaces where they are traditionally unwelcome.
Last, I hope Curated x Kai increases exposure to new worlds by pushing the boundaries of technology and providing you with all the information needed to support organizations that make outreach to diverse communities a priority, not an afterthought.
Beloved, don't ever forget, we belong here & deserve to be appreciated, not tolerated. 💜