Student & Alumni Voices
Student and Alumni Voices, a platform for UNCG students and alumni, highlights contributions to dismantling racial inequality and racism within the United States and globally. Featured students and alumni affirm UNCG’s values of equity, diversity, and inclusion through organizing, advocacy, art, journalism, community-engaged action, scholarship, and more. They are forging paths to racial equity and represent the next generation of leaders for a more equitable, just, and humane world.
Phillip Marsh, a senior in UNCG’s studio art program, uses his art as a tool to create a more equitable society where all voices are heard. From public art projects that garner community attention to conversations that engage city leadership in dialogue about building a better creative economy, his goal is to advocate for representation.
“As we witness this old conversation of racial injustice become amplified after the events that took place in the summer of 2020, it is imperative that we have these conversations and create actionable items that can move the needle towards equality for all citizens.”
Phillip’s creative campaign entitled “Invisible Heroes” involves murals that pay tribute to iconic figures in the Greensboro community who have shown the fortitude to be changemakers during times of civil unrest, like attorney J. Kenneth Lee, and Joanne Smart and Bettye Tillman, the first African American women to integrate Woman’s College, now UNCG.
Racial injustice is the catalyst for Phillip’s creative activism.
“It is important to listen, study, and amplify Black perspectives in our conversations, and it is paramount that we hold community leaders who have neglected to represent the Black community to the standard we demand.”
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Tatianna Wilkins is an interdisciplinary student studying psychology, international and global studies, and Spanish. Because of the diversity of UNCG’s campus, she has been able to push the limits of her cultural and linguistic comfort zones. She studied abroad in Peru and has participated in global-minded programs such as the Global Leadership and PAL Exchange programs.
Currently, she serves as president of the International Students Association. These cross-cultural experiences, and her empathy for people, have put her in a position to see the beauty in the various expressions of humanness and to become co-founder, writer, and editor of an international online magazine “We See You.”
“This magazine is my protest against ignorance, lies, and hate,” she says. “We all share this world, and with ‘We See You,’ we can all share our stories.”
Nora Al-Aati is a senior anthropology student currently studying at the American University of Kuwait. Nora studied abroad at UNCG as a sophomore.
“UNCG has given me so many great opportunities and memories that have helped shape who I am today,” she said. “Living between two very distinct cultures, with the American one being more dominant in the media and scholarly world, has opened my eyes to the lack of representation, understanding, and acknowledgment of certain groups that have led to negative stereotyping and hatred within the international community.”
Nora teamed up with Tatianna Wilkins to create the international online magazine “We See You” in order “to bring those voices, perspectives, and inside knowledge of cultures and religions that you don’t get in mainstream media.”
Selene Santiago-Lopez is a first-generation Otomi woman from Hidalgo, Mexico. She is a first-year student studying political science at UNCG. As a young organizer, Selene is guided by community leaders across the Triad area. She envisions a future where she sees her ancestors smiling wholeheartedly and where our children are able to imagine themselves as talented chefs, gifted creatives, innovative engineers, and so much more.
Through community organizing in the South, Selene has participated in three electoral campaigns with a focus on Latinx voters across North Carolina and Georgia through Mijente. She currently organizes with Sunrise NC advocating for climate justice and a Green New Deal.
Yathrip Abdelgadir and her family moved to the U.S. from Sudan in 2000 and have lived in Greensboro for the past 21 years. Yathrip completed her undergraduate degree at UNCG, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and political science with a concentration in global politics.
After graduating, she joined AmeriCorps VISTA with the Forsyth County Department of Community & Economic Development as a Micro-Enterprise IDA Program Coordinator. Through this position, Yathrip learned about socioeconomic inequalities which led to her current role as an employment specialist at Church World Service Greensboro to further her understanding of social inequalities and how they affect underrepresented communities, such as the refugee and immigrant communities that she belongs to.
In her role as employment specialist, Yathrip works with the employment team at CWSG to help refugees find employment in the area in an effort to help them reach self-sufficiency. Yathrip is also a graduate student in the sociology department at UNCG. Her research interests lie mainly in the Sudanese community in North Carolina and their responses to the Sudanese Revolution of 2018-2019, migration, refugees, and socioeconomic issues.
Yathrip is motivated by her parents and the sacrifices that they made to build a life for her and her siblings in the U.S., and she uses this to drive her to work hard to make her parents proud, while also giving back to the city and the Sudanese community that she has called home for the past 21 years.
Chimeri Anazia, a senior majoring in kinesiology, wants to inspire and advocate for the next generation.
Motivated by the unjust murders of Black people by police, Anazia uses her voice, her platform on social media, and her art as vehicles to amplify Black voices and fight for racial equity.
Most recently, her “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” mural, which originally appeared on the plywood covering the windows of Old Photo Specialists in downtown Greensboro last summer, has been put on display as part of the Greensboro History Museum’s “Pieces of Now” exhibit.
Whether children are looking up to her while she is in the streets protesting for equality or holding their hands up to the painted red hands on her mural, she wants them to be reminded that their future matters.
“I’m doing this for the kids, so they don’t have to continue to protest in the future for their right to live without fear in America.”
Add Your Voice
Share your contributions to dismantling racial inequality and racism locally or globally. We’d love to add more voices to this page to show the world how UNCG students and alumni are fighting for racial equity and working to become the next generation of leaders.