I still have no clear
answer on how to make
“my” America and
“your” America
“our” America.

Serenity Hughes is a junior at Wellesley College majoring in Africana Studies and minoring in Education Studies. She is a first generation college student, and started in The Chicago Wisdom Project when she was fourteen years old. At CWP, she learned to appreciate the arts (she has a passion for African American film); to embrace her ancestors; and that there were possibilities beyond what she’d seen growing up. She wrote and published a book for her CWP project in which she wrote:

I still have no clear answer on how to make “my” America and “your” America “our” America. Some say that the South Side of Chicago is the reason… I respectfully disagree. It is still home. The South Side of Chicago harbors children that are misjudged and children that don’t have a voice because they aren’t given one. The South Side of Chicago harbors children that are unique and smart but are scared to show it. The South Side of Chicago harbors gang bangers and drug dealers who only do those things because they need to support their families. The South Side of Chicago harbors me. Even though the South Side harbors all of these things, I still think that it can become a great part of the city. With a few more after school programs, better high schools, and more jobs for teens, maybe the South Side of Chicago could flourish. But how can America flourish? How can America be one? That I don’t know.

At Wellesley, she works for the Harambee House, which is a safe space for students of African descent on Wellesley’s campus and acts as a liaison between Ethos and the Admissions Office in order to help improve the minority experience on campus as well as to increase the retention rate for students of African descent.

She is also a Mellon Mays Fellow, which is a nationally recognized fellowship that was created to increase the number of minority students pursuing PhDs.

Her studies have emphasized black women in film and the black experience in the United States and in the Caribbean. She has been influenced by authors such as Frantz Fanon and Audre Lorde.

Serenity is one of the top students in the Africana Studies Department with a 3.7 cumulative GPA (3.8 in her major).

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