Letter from the Guest Editor: Zontré City on Black History Month


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Zontré City

Coming to Loyola three and a half years ago, I would have never imagined the Black experience that I have received at this predominantly White institution.

To hear me introduce myself at a Loyola event, is to hear about how I came from a majority Black high school. The type of Black school that sung the Negro National Anthem every February and sought going to a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) more than an Ivy.

Arriving at Loyola was a true culture shock for me. As
diverse as the student body was, I couldn’t help but to feel like my 18 year-old self who listened to Young Dolph to remind him of home wasn’t cut out for “living the dream” at Loyola.

I remember overthinking the memes I sent while in First Year Council like: “Was that too Black?” I remember having a conflict on a project in class and thinking: “Was that too
aggressive?” I remember attending a Greek social and hearing an echo of the n-word on the bus and wondering: “Do I need to turn up right now?”

For these reasons, I contemplated transferring every day my first semester. Well, until I met my family.

Finding Black friends to unpack my cultural dilemmas, watch Black movies late into the night with, and debate if we liked lemon pepper wings is what made me consider Loyola home. An imperfect one, but a home. I quickly learned that
sometimes you have to add your personal touch to a space for it to feel like yours.

My Black peers, allies and I have worked every day of our college career to ensure that we leave Loyola with more of a touch of Blackness than was here on our arrival. We are indebted to those who have done it before us.

I hope the underclassmen reading this will do it long after us. It is the reason why we are involved in a hundred organizations. Personally, it is the reason that I chartered
Lemon Pepper, fought for Homecoming and ran for vice president of SGA. And now, it is the reason that I am guest editing the Life & Times section of The Maroon for Black History Month.

I hope that we as Black students, faculty, staff and alums can see this Black Lives, Black Voices series as the triumphs of our community even on a small campus like Loyola’s. Thank you to The Maroon for allowing our voices to be
amplified in a time where some are still fighting harder than ever to silence them.