Being a first-generation college student has proven to be an interesting experience for me. The degree that I will earn is not just my own. I am carrying the legacy of an innumerable amount of those from generations before me and after me. Entering the foreign space of higher education, without any clear guide of what to expect, or role models to emulate, I have been left to figure this journey out myself. Fortunately, during the spring semester of 2017, I discovered an icon!
At the time, I had just changed my major to sociology. Who knew that corporate norms weren’t my cup of tea? In search of a desirable career field to pursue I faced a dilemma. I decided I wanted to enter academia, but I didn’t envision leaving my artistic passions to fall by the wayside. Having this internal conflict, one day I was scrolling through Twitter. Among the funny viral videos, Trumpian antics, and loud opinions, I saw a very thought-provoking tweet. I don’t remember what it said exactly, but I think it had something to do with challenging the status quo that is America’s education system. I was hooked! I quickly clicked on the profile and I was overwhelmed by a bio that professed that this person was a sociologist, an activist, and an artist!
That person was none other than the fantastic Eve Ewing. Dr. Eve L. Ewing is so many things. She’s a scholar. She’s a writer. She’s a cultural organizer. She’s an artist. She’s a media personality. She’s a teacher. She’s a powerful woman of color. Dr. Ewing is also Chicago made. She received her undergraduate education from the prestigious University of Chicago. She also has a M.Ed. in Educational Policy and Management from Harvard University. She earned her doctorate from the Harvard School of Education.
Eve Ewing is important to me because she was among the first representations that I encountered that seemed to merge all their passions in to a well accomplished career. Eve Ewing is a prolific writer across a variety of genres. Do you like poetry? She has multiple Anthologies published! Do you have an interest in education reform? Try reading Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side. Oh, you say you have a love for comic books? Eve Ewing is the literal mastermind behind Marvel Comics series Ironheart, which places a young black girl into the role of an Ironman-like superhero! Outside of all of this, on social media Eve Ewing manages to provide essential social commentary on important issues, while also retaining her dynamic, quirky personality!
I felt that it was important to highlight this powerful Black woman, especially during this celebration of rich Black History and a hopeful Black Future. It is important for the Black community to have role models. Their existence should challenge the status quo. Their ambition should fight any societal barriers crafted to halt them. These leaders should possess redeeming qualities, hold diverse backgrounds and identities, and are able to inspire all generations! Eve Ewing walking so firm in her gifts and purpose has lighted my inner flame to do the same.