Column: Peer leader Damani Brandon encourages campus diversity

by Isaiah Martinez
edited by Kelsey Hausman

The first day of her peer leadership sophomore Damani Brandon noticed a couple of African American students in her group. One of them looked particularly shy.

It was not until Brandon said, “Hey, I am your peer leader Damani, from Hartford CT,”  that the student gave a sigh of relief. Brandon gave a small smile knowing exactly what was going on in his head: that there was not diversity on campus

Brandon said, “I don’t come from the best city, play the same sports, may not be as smart or have the same skin color as many others on campus, but this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be presented with the same opportunities as everyone else.”

The psychology major makes a statement and enjoys doing it. Damani Brandon became a peer leader her sophomore year and loves every bit of it.

Brandon said, “Being in a very secluded campus in Rindge, NH, there are not many girls with my skin color and hair texture. However, that does not mean there shouldn’t be.”

Being a peer leader of color gives incoming freshmen the reassurance that there is diversity at Franklin Pierce and that it continues to grow.

At Franklin Pierce, Brandon makes the effort to break African American stereotypes. “I don’t want people to think that all African American people are the same or act the same,” said Brandon.

She uses her past experiences of living in an African American community and having to deal with racial slurs, as motivation to become something great.

 

Brandon on left (Photo:Damani Brandon)

Brandon is also a tutor for the writing center. She loves seeing the smiles on peoples’ faces when she helps someone who came to her. Brandon believes that since she is continuously working with students on campus they see her as a source of comfort and reliability.

She uses her peer leader position to contribute to creating a secure and attentive campus environment where students feel welcome and comfortable.

“I want people to know that no matter where they come from in life, what skin color, what type of hair they got, that everyone should be accepted and use your past experience as motivation and embrace your diversity because there is people out there looking to take you down just because you are a diverse student.”

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