Student of Color Perspectives: Reality Check


Hi! I’m Naomie Shembo and I am one of your first-year bloggers for Student of Color Perspectives. I blog about what it’s like the be #Black@Brown, in order to give some insight on what it is like to be a student of color here!

A group of my friends and I went to New York City for #SpringBreak2k16. I had never been to the city before, so I was in full tourist mode; craning my neck to look at the skyscrapers, clutching my bag to my side, eating as much good NYC food as humanely possible, and all that jazz. It was at Grand Central Station (shout out to the opening scene of Gossip Girl), that something happened that made me think about more than just how relieved I was to get a break from school work.

A Black Lives Matter protest was going on while my friends and I were on the way to catch a subway back home.Being at a full-time student, I am undoubtedly under informed about current events- I won’t try and hide it. There’s so little time in college to sit down and watch CNN or scroll through the New York Times on your laptop, that I don’t keep with things nearly as much as a should. That being said, I hadn’t heard of the person for whom the group was protesting. The posters showed that a young black boy had been murdered by a NYPD officer. It is so shamefully tragic that that sort of incident has become commonplace. The group was protesting peacefully, but a huge group of about a dozen NYPD officers were following them around. I am sure there is some sort of protocol is situations like that, but it seemed like the officers were just waiting for someone in the group to mess up to get violent so that they could shut down the protest. 

I remember feeling really proud of the protestors. Proud that they were bold enough to unify against such a systemically powerful entity in a public place. Proud that they were keeping themselves informed on the issues and pleading with the public to hold officers accountable for their actions. Proud that they cared about the poor black boy who’s life was shortened simply because his skin was chocolate.

Going to Brown is an amazing opportunity, undeniably, but witnessing the protest reminded me that it’s important to keep my eyes open to what is happening in the “real world”, the world that continues to evolve even if I’m absorbed in my school work. There is no use for an Ivy League education if I don’t apply what I’m learning in my classes to what I see reflected in society.

So to quote the courageous protestors:

“All lives will matter when blacks live matter.”And I will make sure to be a part of the movement that is working to make that statement a reality.



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