Shelby Stepp is a Senior Communication Studies major with a minor in Art History at University of Maryland, College Park from Baltimore, MD. Aside from her studies, Shelby is also a marketing and public relations intern for the National Center for Citizen Safety, a nonprofit organization that attempts to minimize and prepare citizens for domestic terrorism and other acts of violence in the U.S. In 2015, police brutality hit home when Freddie Gray, a 25 year old black man died while in police custody. The riots and violence that pursued for months within the Baltimore region sparked a serious interest in African American injustices and initiated Shelby’s social activism. Shelby hopes to initiate a dialogue about racial injustices and create social change through this blog.
Aliyah Wilson is a junior from Minneapolis. Aliyah studies communications focusing on public relations. With school as her full-time job, she participates in the American Indian Student Union, and serves as a communications intern for the Maryland wrestling team. She loves all things sports and can debate hot takes for hours. Growing up Native American and Black in a world that is black and white, Aliyah has seen racial injustices in real time. Institutional racism is real, and she believes it is important for people that haven’t experienced it to understand and acknowledge it. The Black Lives Matter movement really hit home this past summer when an officer shot and killed Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, just about ten minutes away from her home in Minneapolis. This topic is important to her because she’s seen it, lived it and wants more people to talk about it. It’s 2016, let’s talk racism!
Kali Yonowitz is a sophomore majoring in Communications on the Social Influence track and minoring in Leadership Studies. She is involved with many organizations on campus, like her Panhellenic sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and her honors fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi. She also works as a Contributing Editor for UMD’s Odyssey Online community and as the traditional media coordinator for Terps for Israel, a pro-Israel advocacy group on campus. In her free time (as if that actually exists) she enjoys binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix: Law and Order SVU, Bob’s Burgers, Friends, That 70’s Show, and Parks and Recreation. Having grown up in a predominantly white area, Kali has never witnessed racial tensions except for online and from hearing other people talk about it. Because if this, racial tensions is something she is very interested in researching so that she can be more knowledgable about the topic.
Kimberly Vaughn is from Ellicott City, MD. She is currently a junior at the University of Maryland in the Communications department with a specialty in Public Relations and she is minoring in Public Leadership. Kimberly is a member of the professional community service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Reading the news constantly has made her interested in the racial injustices that occur in our nation daily. She hopes to generate awareness for this issue through this blog post. She finds this issue important because she believes that everyone should have equal opportunities regardless of race.
Zion Teferi is a Maryland native from Silver Spring. She is now a senior at the University of Maryland in the film studies department where she has a concentration in video production and digital media. While attending the University of Maryland, Zion has joined many organizations that concentrate around the experience of Black communities in Maryland. These organizations have spurred her interest in the Black Lives Matter movement, and helped her to get involved in social activism. Zion will like to do her part in creating awareness and social action for Black issues, which is why the issue of police brutality and institutional racism is so important to her.