What does it mean to be a young adult graduating Syracuse University Class of 2022? Does that include constantly stressing out about your final final? Without a doubt. Do you have crushing bouts of anxiety every time someone asks you about your plans for the future? Like clockwork (stop asking us about it). Exaltation at last, ultimately walking on the Dome stage? Absolutely.
Now all that considered, what does it mean to be a young Black adult who graduated from a predominantly white institution like SU?
These hallowed halls opened up my world more than I could have ever imagined, but they also wore me down in ways I never anticipated. I never planned to deal with symbolism, otherness, microaggressions, perpetual impostor syndrome and straight of those who mistakenly believe they are inherently better because they have been told that their whole lives. Well, maybe I expected that, but not to this extent.
How did I survive it? The answer is quite simple: the community.
Community – so much in one word. Amid the chaos of being young and black in American higher education, finding your people, your home, your family is imperative. For my part, I have found that in The renegade magazineSU’s first and only black general interest publication.
I remember arriving at SU my freshman year, nervously diving into all that this campus had to offer me. Then I saw the leaflet of the first general assembly of the Renegade. I’ve always had an interest in writing and thought I’d give it a try.
Somewhere between sitting in the meeting and a long brainstorming session, which turned into a heated debate on a number of fashionable issues at the time, I felt a sense of peace m ‘to invade. I recognized a feeling deep within me that this was the start of something life changing, a feeling that my soul had come home.
I had found my community. The Renegade is a space that is for us, by us (if you know, you know). The League often preaches diversity and inclusion as a central principle, which is fine. However, it is one thing to claim it and quite another to be this. And in The Renegade, you can be whoever you want. Not in a way where you put on a character so people like you, and not in a way where you don’t speak up for fear of being ostracized. I’m referring to how your whole being lights up when you’re in a space of pure authenticity, where you can be your true self without worrying about falling short.
At The Renegade, I’ve written about everything from black businesses for toxic beauty standards for black release, and yet, I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of my potential. I feel limitless in the environment this post has cultivated, which is no small feat when you’re someone like me in a place like this.
Now, this journey has not been without its challenges. I’m still struggling to build on the legacy that The Renegade founder Ibet Inyang laid out for all of us in 2014. She had the plan and she gave us the platform. His drive and determination motivate me to keep doing more. merit better.
We have still deserved more. We deserve spaces like 119 Euclid, where we can stop and not worry about being bullied into feeling like we don’t belong. We deserve events like Reneprom, where we can shine in our joy and embody the embodiment of carefree black excellence.
We deserve to feel like we belong on this campus, not in spite of who we are, but because of it. We drive the culture that makes the world go round. We create, we innovate and we bring life to everything we touch. A renegade is someone who sets the tone, someone who disagrees, and someone who rebels against dated and problematic traditions. But most importantly, being a renegade is being in community with others. It is in our community that we draw our strength.
What does it mean for me to be a member of the class of 2022? It means community, it means being a renegade, but above all? It means we succeeded.
Dassy Kemedjio, co-editor of The Renegade magazine, class of 2022
Published on May 11, 2022 at 10:01 p.m.