For LeShauntai Adams, Black history is powerful history

For LeShauntai Adams, Black history is powerful history

In 2016, Adams arrived to Western New Mexico University from Shiprock, NM, on an academic scholarship for the fall semester. She is currently a Senior and will be walking in May with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Rehabilitation Services and a minor in Psychology. Adams has a work study position in the Center for Student Success and is also a member of Mustang Entertainment, a group of students who organize significant events on campus like Great Race and Homecoming.

A self-described half-black woman, The Mustang Staff interviewed Adams to learn her insights on Black History Month.

Q: What are your thoughts about the state of African Americans/Black people today?

A: We are still growing. Sometimes, we are always at a disadvantage, but it’s not our fault. It is something out of our control. We are amazing individuals!

Q: Have you ever experienced racism, and how did you react to the situation? How have those events affected your life?

A: I have experienced racism, especially as a kid growing up. I grew up in a community where I was one of very few half-black kids. The first thing people saw in me was my dark skin and my curly hair. I think the first time I ever got called the N-word was when I was in the fifth grade. I did not deal with the situation in the best way. It resulted in a fight, and I remember going home feeling so torn for allowing those boys to deteriorate me: because of my skin color, because of my hair, because I was a better basketball player than them. Before the situation, my mom never talked to me about racism. Every day after the fight, she told me to persevere and to be bigger than anyone who ever tried to tear me apart because of my skin color, and I did. I am older now and, I don’t experience racism as often, but I will say there are sometimes where I’ve walked into the store being the only black person there, and the environment feels so different.

Q: How does it feel to be a successful person here at WNMU? 

A: Well, it’s not easy. I’m very thankful to be able to be part of the clubs I’ve been an essential role of. It helped me grow as an individual. It helped me gain experience, and it looks good on a resume. I feel great about it! I can leave WNMU knowing that I’ve been actively involved on campus since I was a freshman.

Q: What is one word that sums up your thoughts on African Americans/Black people? 

A: Powerful. We are powerful individuals who come from such diverse backgrounds. In my opinion, there is not anything black people cannot do. We are trendsetters! We played a massive role in the building of this nation. We’ve persevered, grown, and become stronger.

Q: Why should we keep celebrating Black History Month?

A: Why would we stop? There is so much history rooted in black culture. There are so many powerful leaders who fought to get our people where we are now, and it is important that we recognize the role black people had in US history. Black history is our history.