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Alesha Bond is running Van Kampen's Instagram for Black History Month. Who is she?

Views 34 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 2 - 13 - 2019 | By: Zion Shih

Sitting calmly with her cup in hand, student and resident assistant in Van Kampen Hall Alesha Bond is poised with her new braids across the lunch table. This month commemorates Black History, and Bond has been running Van Kampen’s social media account for the occasion.

In running Van Kampen’s Instagram page, Bond hopes to “educate people” and help them open up to engaging in black culture. VK will host a showing of “13th” in support of that effort.
Along with chapel talks like the one presented by John Moore that brought important reflections and conversation with the acknowledgement of Black history, Bond also hopes that Westmont will continue to invite speakers that initiate this critical dialogue.

Bond herself is ready to share about her experience as a black woman at Westmont College.

Bond recounts that the majority of educational institutions she has attended have been composed of majority white students, so the racial disparities at Westmont were not new to her; nevertheless she became more aware of her “position” and is both eager and apprehensive to initiate that conversation. Bond speaks of the lack of resources at Westmont College to address issues of racial identity and discrimination. She feels that apart from ICP, there is little school-wide initiative to provide resources for students to engage in issues surrounding race, ethnicity, and identity.
Bond seeks to “be a bridge toward the conversation of race and create a safe environment that breeds reconciliation between peoples.”

However, in attempts to initiate the conversation herself, she says that she receives pushback as people take the dialogue as personal attacks by an “angry black woman,” asking why she feels the need to “preach” to them. She states that this audience is often “color-blind,” seemingly unable to recognize the crucial role race plays in shaping one’s identity, and not receptive to to talking about race. On the other hand, she has had more positive experiences when others initiate the conversation, as they are more often in a place where “they want to understand.” This leads to meaningful conversations that help participants grow.

Throughout her time at Westmont, Bond explains that she has learned resilience in the face of discrimination.
“I have learned to prove them wrong when they try to put me in a box I was not meant to be in. They were uncomfortable about race and fell back on what they knew instead of trying to cooperatively work through this challenge.”

Bond encourages students to continue reaching out to professors and faculty who are open to “having conversations”, such as a resident director or Jason Cha, the director of Intercultural Programs. She particularly wants to thank Liz Robertson, Van Kampen RD, and Residence Life as a whole, for all of their support and willingness to engage in this dialogue.
Bond explains how Black history is important to everyone because it is a part of American history. After all, without them, there would not be elevators, spatulas, or traffic lights today, Bond joyfully adds. In stating why Black History Month is important to her, Bond says, “I really want to know about my culture and history and explain them to others.” Black History month means “getting back in touch with my roots, the strength and resilience that came before me,” because seeing what they have done makes the seemingly impossible, possible.

Bond encourages those facing discrimination to speak up about it, calmly acknowledging and informing the person of the effect their words had on them in order to foster reconciliation and growth in the face of aggression.


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