“After years of inferiority feelings, I felt empowered after speaking up”

Liberation is the belief that we can succeed, a sense of confidence in ourselves and in our collective efforts. Liberation is the knowledge that we are not alone. Raising Voices will share stories of personal liberation written by students, faculty and staff. These testimonies about introspection, challenge and empowerment pretend to foster awareness and understanding about each other on campus. An assistant director shares her story.

What has been your personal liberation so far in your life?

I was born in Africa. Coming to the States was everything I dreamt of. However, when I started working, I felt different because of some of my colleagues. I thought they were treating me the way they did because I was not born in the States. I was feeling inferior and insecure. I could not speak up because I used to think: “If I complain, I will get fired.” I needed the job. After around five years tolerating negative comments, keeping in silence and questioning myself, I complained at the Office of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion. After that, things changed a little for a while. When I was assigned a new supervisor things turned to worse. I went to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion, and the Human Recourses office and complained again. My personal liberation was when I started to believe in myself because I was doing my job well. I decided to speak up and things got much better. I felt stronger, empowered and free after suffering for years.

What kind of liberation do you think American society needs?

Where I come from, we treat everyone with respect, no matter where you are from or who you are. Someone will let you know when you are wrong in a nice way, by not yelling at you like a little child. American Society needs to learn from different communities how to treat people, and be respectful. We are all human. It does not matter whether you were born in America or elsewhere. Respect is reciprocal.

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