Within the last year, protests, riots and gatherings have been held to not only bring awareness to police brutality, but about systematic racism as well. #Sayhername is a hashtag used usually when someone dies in vain. In more recent times, the hashtag #Sayhername became more familiar on social media platforms during the Breonna Taylor case. Protesters wanted to bring more awareness on how she was fatally shot in her sleep by police who wrongfully searched and entered her home. 

For the week of Jan. 25-29, 2021 the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center is hosting a Dr. King inspired #Sayhername series where five ISU women highly involved in activism and advocacy will speak on their experiences as well as trials and tribulations. There will be a session held every day of this week from 2-3 pm. 

On the Tuesday session, Nijah Smith was the guest speaker, and the theme of her session revolved around “trusting the process.” Smith talked about her own personal experiences where she states, “You can’t be scared to jump out on a limb. Sometimes you’ll have good days, and some days you’ll have bad days, but always continue to push forward.” Smith states she never expected to be able to use her platform to tell other people’s stories, even stating how at first she felt that it felt like she was crossing a boundary because it was not her place. 

She then continued to discuss how she felt she had to use her voice because you never know what little black girl might be watching who are looking up to you. You never know who’s watching, or who you might be inspiring. Smith says the #Sayhername hashtag means a lot to her because a lot of black women “walked so she could run” and how black women are continuously counted out, but how we still persevere. 

Smith says it is important for black women to not only stay together, but to put their mental health and self-care first with a quote from Michelle Obama that says, “We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our to-do list.” She says this is vitally important because activism is a very tiring, selfless job. Keeping your self help makes the job easier. 

For more info, email ISU-AACC@.indstate.edu.