By Jahare Hudson, President of USA
Black History Month is a time where Black people and African Americans come together
to celebrate their achievements. It is a time where we embrace our culture in a world that does not and a time to take pride in the color of our skin. And while we celebrate with the joy of Black History Month and discuss all of the achievements of the Black community, it is important to recognize the struggle of so many Black people in power.
My name is Jahare Hudson, and I serve as the president of the Undergraduate Student
Association. I am the third Black person to hold this position. It is an honor to serve the students of Canisius, something that I enjoy doing every time I step into a room where students’ voices are required. And while I hope that I have been successful in doing this, there is a cost that I, and so many Black people in leadership positions, pay every day.
Any Black person in a position of authority can relate to feeling like the world is on their
shoulders, and this is no different for me. I feel like I owe it to the Black students and people of color students to be perfect. Unrealistic? Sure. Absolutely. That does not mean that I don’t have to. I can’t mess up or fail because it feels like one small mistake will reflect the Black community as a whole. Unrealistic again? Absolutely. But that doesn’t erase the fact that as a Black person in leadership, we are often placed as the speaker of our race and our experience. And the tax that comes with this is strong, but we pay it nonetheless. In my opinion, it is the selflessness to do it.
And on top of all this, we still have to carry ourselves with grace. We can’t be assertive,
or it may come off as aggressive, and we can’t complain, or it may come off as lazy. We have to just take it onto our shoulders, however heavy it is, and keep going. Because if we don’t, who will?
Honestly, it is hard to be Black and in leadership, and there are days when I just want to
throw everything down and say, “I quit.” But the reality is that I don’t have that luxury of just
quitting… because of the color of my skin. The reality is that I have to contend with the fact that there may not be another Black person in this position for a long time. After all, the time span between the last one and myself is close to 20 years. If I quit, what will that show? That I
can’t do it. And if I can’t do it, then there may not be a second, third or fourth chance.
I say this not to receive praise, sympathy or empathy, but to spark an honest
conversation. It is much needed across the board in every environment. With that said, give grace to Black leaders, show care and compassion and help celebrate their achievements — not just during this month but every month, because it is every month that we struggle and achieve! Happy Black History Month.