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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Advice to student leaders from NAACP and Jemele Hill

Photo by Christopher D’Allen
Pictured left to right: Tammy Belton-Davis, Jemele Hill, Lauren Feaster and Stephanie Sutton

Too often, people see problems in their communities and wait for someone else to initiate positive change. Anne Frank aptly put it, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Think about it. You have the power to be the change you want to see, and whether you dream big or small, there is a place for you to make a difference.

Professional Dimensions, one of Milwaukee’s top women’s professional associations led by CEO Lauren Feaster, recently held the Ideation Summit at Alverno College. This year’s theme: ‘Rethinking Everything, the Power of Advocacy.’

Nayrel Ramirez and author Jemele Hill during Alverno College’s Ideation Summit

The keynote speaker, Emmy Award-winning Sports Journalist and writer for the Atlantic, Jemele Hill, encouraged the audience to drive positive change by not just opening doors but holding them open too for the next generation of leaders. But in a moment of reflection, he noted that it’s not even about the door anymore. She posed the question, “How will I change the room? If it doesn’t look different when I leave, what did I accomplish?”

While you ponder how you will shape the room, think about how you will pick your battles. Understand that your advocacy will have consequences, both intended and unintended.

Where is your line in the sand, and how far are you willing to go to bring about change? Whether you are bringing people together in service, for play, in learning, or in search of justice, think about how far you are willing to go to reshape a space.

As you set out to make a difference, look to those who prepared the room for you. Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries spoke on campus when he was in town for the NAACP’s 99th Annual Freedom Fund Dinner. He spoke about the generational gap between the leaders who brought us through our darkest moments and the people who are trying to make a difference today. As you prepare to make your mark, Dr. Jeffries recommends that you find people who were once in your shoes.

Dr. Hasan Kwame Jeffries speaking to MATC students and staff. (Photo by Christopher D’Allen)

Search for the past leaders of clubs, organizations, and movements, check out old newspapers and archives, ask people who have been around long enough to remember who was making moves, and spark up a conversation. Google is free, and it’s so easy to find people online, so search for them and ask questions, ask for guidance. Learn what hurdles they overcame to make a change. But before you do, articulate what it is that you want. Don’t wait passively to make the world a better place. Put your ideas into words, and put your words into action. “What makes a difference is when you decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”-Jane Goodall

Students and staff pose with Jemele Hill’s Book, pictured left to right: Vari Turner, Nayrel Ramirez, Brenda Johnson, Nate Perez, Courtney Kelly, MATC Special Projects Coordinator, Ashton Brown, Cierra Pleshette, and Equan Burrows, MATC Dean of Student Experience. (Photo by Christopher D’Allen)
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About the Contributor
Christopher D’Allen, Editor-in-Chief
My name is Christopher D'Allen and I am the Editor-in-Chief for the MATC Times, a student run paper dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in scholastic journalism. The MATC Times stands as the voice of our students and a bastion of free speech for the communiy we represent. I joined the staff in my first semester at MATC and obtained my current position at the start of Summer '23. Here I am a photography student and hold a BA in Political Science and Spanish & Latin American Studies with a minor in Democracy and Justice Studies. I have worked an Administrative Assistant, World Language Instructor, a Head Lifeguard and Resident Assistant, but have found that my passion lies in the arts. As a photographer, I challenge myself daily to find a new perspective, capture a fleeting scene and turn moments into memories. As we work to relaunch the MATC Times website and grow our staff, I want to make joining our team as positive a learning experience and beneficial a work experience as possible. I strongly believe in the power of collaboration and inclusivity. As an Editor, I actively encourage diverse perspectives. Each student's unique viewpoint enriches our storytelling and fosters a sense of unity within our community. I aim to bridge the gap between words and images, revealing the untold stories that shape our community.