In one way or another, a student finds their home here at Millsaps. A home can be found through many outlets on campus whether they delve into Fraternity or Sorority life, join one of the multitude of clubs, or even just keep to themselves save for a handful of friends. It’s comforting in a way to know that you have some sort of support system, but where does that leave people that don’t necessarily have the same luxury? Black women on campus have spoken out against not having a place to belong and to speak out without judgement, and my own personal search led me to the Black Girl Projects by Millsaps.
The organization is fairly new to Millsaps, and is led completely by black female student leaders. It has also done tremendous work with the black female population; their goal is to create a safe space for black women on campus and build networking skills to aid them even after graduation.
“It was necessary because we didn’t have anything for us, by us,” commented Bethany Dockery, the student organization’s current treasurer.
Dockery further commented on the need for a community of African American women, regardless of major.
That, I could understand on a deep level. My hometown, LaPlace, was resoundingly black and full of people who looked like me, spoke like me, and thought like me. I’d come to Millsaps on the basis of having a family away from home, and it was a struggle to find a safe haven in which I could experience compassion and lack of judgement. Despite me finding my home at Millsaps now, I still struggled to gain footing in the social ladder and navigate my life here with only a handful of people I knew I could call on.
Khaylah Scott, current president of the organization, was able to tell me a bit about her life here and what inspired the group to set roots on campus.
“I had black women to look up to coming to college, and I see them beyond college doing their best,” she recalls, “My experience with them made me want to bring together a stronger community of black women to leave behind something for others to come and be able to navigate through life here.”
Prior to our interview, I was able to attend a “Let’s Chat about Wellness” webinar the organization hosted. It was much needed in the midst of this chaotic semester, and brought a familiar face to lead the discussion, Leah Hunter.
From there, she guided us through a series of questions followed by detailed discussions and encouragement. “We wanted to make sure that our community is supported through these hard times,” Lacee Winfield stated.
Emphasizing the well-being of lighthouse members, Winfield further expresses “It’s more than that. How’s your spirituality? Your physical health? Your mental health? Do you need help with something? We want to express that we are here for one another and that you don’t have to put up walls.”
If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. The Black Girl Projects by Millsaps is a new beacon of safety for black women on campus to come together and uplift one another. “We want to leave this school better than what we found it and continue that legacy of community,” Bethany Dockery explained amidst our conversation.
It doesn’t come often that you can hear how genuine love and dedication made a thought turn into reality. These admirable women continue to set events to uplift the community, and I’d highly suggest keeping an eye out for them (@luvblkgrls on Instagram). There’s nothing to pay, and nothing to owe for any black woman that wants to feel supported in their journey through Millsaps and beyond.