Things That Matter

MIT Just Announced Their First Black Woman Student Body President

As a Massachusetts Institute of Technology undergrad, Danielle Geathers has already accomplished so much. And yet, recently she accomplished a feat that is making history. When the college student returns back to her classes at MIT this fall, she will be the first in the school’s 159- year history to do so as a Black female student body president.

Geathers, who is 22 years old, was recently elected by her student body as the president of the Undergraduate Association.

She will take up the torch as president alongside her running mate Yu Jing Chen. Speaking to MIT’s student newspaper The Tech, Geathers explained that it “didn’t surprise me that no black women had been president… Someone asked if the UA president was a figurehead role [during the debate]. I think no, but minimally, a black female in that role will squash every perception that MIT is still mostly white and male… Minimally, the immediate image of that will make MIT a more welcoming and inclusive place.”

Geathers, who is a major in mechanical engineering with a concentration in product design is also working on a minor in African and American diaspora studies.

Last year, Geathers served as the United Association’s diversity officer. Speaking about her initial efforts to run for president, Geathers said that she felt quite a bit of doubt and uncertainty about running. “Who am I to be president?” Geathers told The Tech about her mindset at the time. Fortunately, Geathers decided to run, “I talked to a couple of people who said, ‘That is the problem with America.’ People who care about equity never want to run for the main role because they think they’re not for it.”

Speaking about why her race and the one of her running mate had an important role in her campaign, Geathers said “We try to ignore the communities that people are from, but that’s what’s gonna make them good.”

It’s important to note that 6% of MIT’s undergraduate students are Black, and only 47% are women.

FIERCE Maestras Are Giving Newbie Teachers Career Advice And It’s Basically The Sweetest Thing

Fierce

FIERCE Maestras Are Giving Newbie Teachers Career Advice And It’s Basically The Sweetest Thing

Joe Raedle / Getty

No matter what experiences you’ve had as a student, hopefully you have had at least a handful of teachers who left good impressions on you. As a whole class of students from this year graduate and become teachers themselves, we wanted to ask veteran maestras for advice on how to continue the cycle of positivity.

In a recent post to our Instagram page we asked all our FIERCE maestras, what advice do they have for a new teacher and boy did they deliver!

Check out the replies below!

Stay nourished.

“Advice: eat during your break girl and practice self-care.” – la_misses_m

Take it easy.

“Take it one day at a time. At times you will doubt yourself but push through the all the challenges. Always remember why you are there, which is to teach your students. You got this!! Good luck!!” – erixcii

Make sure you’re feeding your relationships.

“Focus on relationships above everything. Relationships with your students and their families!”- allirousey

Don’t forget to build relationships with your students.

“Self-care and building relationships with your students and families!!” – jazzyfue

And definitely remember to trust yourself.

“I’m an SLP, but I would tell her to trust herself!! You got this! You know your kids and you talents!” – maryoso_moli

Self-care Sundays shall your temple.

“Practice Self-care and build relationships with students. Remember to always be kind to the janitors/grounds keepers/ clerical staff (they make our jobs easier). Consider keeping a scrap book or journal of sweet notes and emails that you can look through on the tough days. Always teach with your heart and with a growth mindset; never get complacent because our profession is ever changing and we will likely never have the exact same group of kiddos again. Keep learning from your coworkers (what to do and what not to do), from your students, insta teachers, workshops, and personal experience (make notes to yourself in your planner for next year). Being organized has saved me, even on the most hectic days. Always have a back up lesson available. Empathy is key! Take. Days. Off. I know lesson plans are time consuming, but your mental health is worth prioritizing.” – cmirene

Know it gets better over time.

“The first year may be hard, but it gets better and better every year.”- yulzzzz5

Don’t be a Yes Ma’am.

“Advice: learn to say no. You’ll be super compelled to go more than above and beyond because it’s all for the kids and as much as I ADORE AND LOVE my students just as I am sure you will you need some you time. I started being the only teacher at school functions and being stressed about helping my high schoolers have the best time that I was drowning. Love them but love yourself too! You deserve you time.” – del_ranita

Don’t be a shrinking violet.

“Don’t shrink yourself to make your whyte colleagues feel comfortable. Connect with other teachers of color and ask for/give support. Lead with love for your students. They should always come first.”- queenurbie

Be an authentic leader.

“My one piece of advice is to invest time in getting to know your students, their stories and be your authentic self with them. Kids love knowing that their teachers are people and are just like them.” – meerehyah@educatinglittleminds 

And finally, remember ya live and learn!

“I remember I used to always want to be “perfect” for them and would fear making mistakes or letting them see me when things wouldn’t go right. When a lesson didn’t work out as planned. I learned to let that go and to let them see me make mistakes. It is okay! And it is okay to admit it. They’ll appreciate it! Teaches them that we aren’t all perfect and we all make mistakes-it’s a part of life. Teach on and be You! They’ll love every piece of you.” – su_heeey

Organizations Advocating For Black Women’s Health To Support

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Organizations Advocating For Black Women’s Health To Support

Stephanie Keith / Getty

As our country faces a reckoning for the various forms of systematic oppression that Black people face in our country, it’s important to note that it affects Black women at a very unbalanced rate. To ensure Black women are given the proper support they need, we’ve rounded up organizations that have been actively fighting to support their health.

Check them out below!

Black Mamas Matter Alliance

When it comes to maternal mortality rates, Black women historically have the highest rates. According to the CDC, Black women are almost four times more likely than white women to experience pregnancy-related death. The Black Mamas Matter Alliance strives to change policy, encourage research, and fight for Black maternal health and justice.

Check out the Black Mamas Matter Alliance here.

Homeless Black Trans Woman Fund

The Homeless Black Trans Woman Fund provides support and funds to Black trans women in Atlanta who are sex workers and homeless. The fund works to give women cell phones, housing, food, and other necessities. According to the fund’s founder, Jesse Pratt López, “Atlanta has almost no resources for Transgender women, so I took matters into my own hands.”

Check out the Homeless Black Trans Woman Fund here.

Sisters Network (A National African American Breast Cancer Survivorship Organization)

Compared to white women and breast cancer-related death, Black women are more than 40% more likely to die. The Sisters Network aims to increase awareness of the ways in which breast cancer affects the Black community in the United States.

Check out the Sisters Network here.

Mamatoto Village

Mamatoto Village is a nonprofit that works to empower Black women to achieve self- care, good mental health, and financial health support.

Check out the Mamatoto Village here

The Okra Project

The Okra Project is a collective bringing healthy and home-cooked meals to Black trans people across the country. The project organizes and pays for Black trans chefs to go into the homes of other Black transgender people and cook them a free meal.

Check out the Okra Project here.

The Loveland Foundation

According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, “African Americans are 10% more likely to experience serious psychological distress.” The Loveland Foundation works to give Black women financial assistance so that they can seek therapy.

Check out The Loveland Foundation here.

Black Women for Wellness

Black Women for Wellness is a California- based organization devoted to improving the health and well-being of Black women and girls. The organization works to achieve this by providing education programs, civic engagement, and policy work. Their workshops include sex education and healthy cooking.

Check out the Black Women for Wellness here.

Black Women’s Health Imperative

The Black Women’s Health Imperative has been around for 35 years and works to fight against the health disparities endured by Black women.

Check out the Black Women’s Health Imperative here.