What is AF Hartford High sophomore MaTaeya thinking about this Black History Month? We sat down with her to find out.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I am a pretty open person. I love to give advice, and I love to listen to other people and get to know them. I know what I want, and I always voice my opinions without hesitation. I’m a very blunt person—that is because of my mom and my father and how I was raised. They always taught me to speak my mind and to speak how I feel in a respectful manner.
In school, my favorite subject is math. Right now I’m doing geometry, but my favorite form of math is algebra. I like how there’s a definite answer – you’re either wrong or you’re right – and there are different equations to get to the final answer. I like how certain it is.
How do you describe your ethnicity and heritage?
My mom is Caribbean – her side is all St. Lucian, and my dad is African-American. I’m really close to my cousins on my dad’s side, and I feel like I identify more as African-American. One thing about me is that I love to prove people wrong. Being African-American and a woman, other people might not expect you to do well. With my brains and how I work in school, on many occasions I’ve proved people wrong who have assumed things about me. I’m the oldest out of my cousins, and I’m the one to represent and to teach them how to do this and that, and how to have a high standard in life. I like proving people wrong, and I think that comes from who I am.
What do you think people should know about Black history?
I want people to know that even though issues like segregation happened in the past, there are many different forms of it now. You can experience it at school, when you go to the mall, when you go out, period. Being Black and African-American, you might doubt yourself subconsciously. I felt like that at first when I went to a summer program and all of the other students there were white. I saw I was trying to change myself in some ways. But I thought, I like to be myself.
What do you like the most about learning Black history?
I like to learn about how successful Black people are. We learned about Mansa Musa, the wealthiest person in Africa in the 14th century, and all of his gold. I feel like these perspectives aren’t highlighted as much, and I like to see the good times.
How will you make history? What are your goals?
I am not completely sure, but one of the things that interests me is being a plastic surgeon, because who do you know who is African-American, and a woman, and a plastic surgeon? I also might want to be a lawyer, because I love to argue my points. Either one of those paths will allow me to help people, which is important to me. And, I need the challenge, because I am kind of a perfectionist.