Greenleaf's Jennifer Sears on Being Voted 'Queen of the Blacks' in 'Segregated Homecoming Court'

Here I stand, a (relatively) young Black woman with stories of her own, some much more scarring than a segregated homecoming court, old tapes that often replay in my mind of educators telling me that I should just be happy with a future in a secretarial profession because that’s a good job for “my kind.” I think of the trauma I’ve not only experienced, but with prayer and self-work on self-worth, I have overcome as I proudly ascend from a long lineage of overcomers.

Even with my internal triumphs, I can’t help but wonder when does the intergenerational trauma end. Unfortunately, my story and that of my family isn’t at all unique. There are countless other Black Americans who can recount memories of past trauma shared from generation to generation. Well, I boldly proclaim, not anymore! The buck stops here, with this generation. We must break this vicious cycle — all of us collectively, regardless of our age, race, cultural upbringing or any other divisive barriers. We must stand in solidarity now, because if not now, when? And if not us, who? We must end the soul-scarring trauma of racism for generations not only present and future, but also in honor of those of the past who braved unconscionable horrors of what could understandably be considered as their “American nightmare.”

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero ( which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

• works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement ( provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.

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