As she prepares for a senior year at The College of Wooster different from anything she could have expected, Amelia Kemp ’21, a communication studies and sociology major, is making her voice heard in her home community of Colorado Springs. Interning this summer at Black Forest Community Church through an APEX Fellowship, Kemp published her thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement in newspapers throughout the city.
Growing up as a Black woman in a white community, educating the people around her about antiracism isn’t new to Kemp. “I have spent the majority of my life (starting around age 8) educating white folks around me about what it means for me to be Black in America,” she said. When Pikes Peak Newspapers ran her column “Black Lives Matter: We may get tired, but we cannot stop,” she even led editor, Michelle Karas, to make a change in policy. While Karas originally lowercased “Black” in the piece to follow the Associated Press guidelines at the time, Kemp pointed out the importance of the capital “B” in Black to the movement. “Black is an ethnic and cultural identifier, much like Hispanic, Latinx, Native American, African American, etc.; like these other identifiers, it should have been capitalized this whole time,” says Kemp. Karas agreed and made the change in the publication, days before AP changed the rules to reflect the same idea.
Kemp chose to major in both communication studies and sociology because of how the two subjects work together. “Sociology goes hand-in-hand with communication,” she said, noting the similarities between the two theories. Her column encourages the church and members of the community “to speak up, to march, to donate, to become educated on and pursue antiracism work, because this work is integral in defeating injustice and inequality in the United States.” She likens the movement to a marathon and stresses the need for persistence to keep the drive for change moving forward. Kemp herself has worked alongside organizers to lead protests and community conversations.
Becoming a part of the Wooster community in her four years at the College gives Kemp confidence in the choice she made to attend. “I love being surrounded by passionate and caring professors, and I’ve found that the students are overwhelming kind, driven, and smart,” she said, noting her involvement in student organizations like Women of Images and Black Women’s Organization and her work with the admissions office as a tour guide and assisting with public relations for the Theatre and Dance Department. “The community is really what makes the place so special, and I’ve met and learned from some of the best people I’ve ever known.”