Male Success Initiative scholar, civil engineeringAnti-racism is:
“The process of combating racism to rectify oppressive institutions in hopes of moving toward the ideas of equality. That process comes through peaceful protests, media outlets, community outreach and more.”
How I Learned to Survive and Thrive in My Slice of America
This is my journey to anti-racism.
Born and raised in Carson, by two Jamaican parents, my childhood was somewhat interesting. The story begins in my old elementary school, where I was given a guidebook on how to survive my slice of America at the early age of 6.
I still remember the warnings not to wear a hoodie on sunny days, and the dangers of playing with water guns in the front yard.
At the time, I could not grasp the reason for these various lessons, but eventually, I did. They helped prevent unwanted attention from the police and gang-affiliated members. For me, these lessons created a pedagogy of fear, frightening me against embracing my Blackness. It was not until high school that I once again felt in control of my culture and standing as a Black male.
In high school, I had terrific teachers who went beyond the curriculum and taught me about America's real history.
I learned about the ideas of intersectionality within a coherent society, which came in handy when reading about John Lewis and his quest for freedom or the Black Panthers’ “What We Want, What We Believe.” High school is where my fight began not only for anti-racism, but also for justice.
As stated in Martin Luther King's “Letter From Birmingham Jail:” “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” which applies to many societal issues we face.
From there, I started my journey, tackling problems that disproportionately affected minority communities.
My first project was addressing the mental health pandemic that my friends and I noticed. We were able to collaborate with Charles Drew University students to perform research in the city of Willowbrook in Los Angeles County. This research allowed us to hold a city summit and discuss various mental health topics while opening my eyes to how much influence my actions had.
Since then, I have been exploring different ways to open up doors for African Americans in STEM at Cal State Fullerton through the National Society of Black Engineers and the Male Success Initiative.
Moving forward on this journey toward anti-racism, I hope to keep making connections and have these critical conversations to promote our similarities rather than our differences.
Jared Lynch is majoring in civil engineering, is a Male Success Initiative scholar and a member of the National Society of Black Engineers. He is working to open doors for African Americans in STEM at Cal State Fullerton.