Turning A New Chapter: Revival of Farmingdale State College’s NAACP Chapter
May 18, 2022 – Assé Diallo, FSC NAACP Chapter Unit President
“Turning A New Chapter: Revival of Farmingdale State College’s NAACP Chapter” Written by Assé Diallo, FSC NAACP Chapter Unit President
“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”
— Toni Morrison
Attending the school of my dreams after making exceptional grades through all of high school and overcoming my parents’ strict conservative cultural views of a young woman leaving for college was my greatest accomplishment thus far. Who could have imagined it was a short-lived dream?
My name is Assé Diallo (pronounced: ah-say) and I am currently a junior at Farmingdale State college majoring in Science, Technology, and Society. I began my journey here at Farmingdale as a transfer student in the Fall of 2020 in the midst of the COVID pandemic and hybrid schooling. It was definitely a difficult transition for me.
I found myself lost here at Farmingdale. I attended a college preparatory charter high school in Harlem where I was writing 60-page Change the World dissertations and learning how to be civically engaged in my society in order to graduate all while having a rigorous course load and expected nothing less than academic excellence and civic leadership skills. Despite all their efforts to morph me into an ideal scholar with a life of active citizenship, it ill prepared me for how to navigate the real college world as an African American woman in STEM. Attending an all-women’s college for a year also didn’t aid what I’ve been through here at Farmingdale. The way I could see others intimidated by me and lack of cultural awareness left me in awe.
Seeing Farmingdale for the school that it is drove me to mental illness. On top of family issues, depression, and a newly developed eating disorder, I just vanished into myself. My whole personality changed. I was held captive in my dark thoughts in desperate search of help. The resources I searched for here on campus didn’t help me. It wasn’t until I met a group of exceptional black women that helped me through my long recovery journey.
I missed the positive person I was so much, so I dug myself out of the dark hole I was in. I realized that I can’t be successful in a place where I don’t feel comfortable, where I don’t feel like myself. At some point, I couldn’t help but imagine how many other students felt the same way about Farmingdale as I did and that’s when I knew it was time for some change. I saw the environment I was in and realized it’s what I make it so I’m going to create a place for myself and my peers where we all feel welcomed, appreciated, comfortable and most importantly, loved.
People like me are at a proportional disadvantage coming into college and having no guidance. I don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt, sitting in anatomy class feeling overwhelmed because I am the only black girl in the class. I don’t want anyone to feel that they have to educate professors on them to sugar coat the Civil Rights Movement and the brutality African Americans experience just to make the majority more comfortable.
Members of the FSC NAACP
The official mission of the NAACP Youth & College Division Chapter here at Farmingdale is to inform youth of the problems affecting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities; to advance the economic, educational, social, and political status of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities and their harmonious cooperation with other peoples; to stimulate an appreciation of the African Diaspora and other people of color’s contribution to civilization, and to develop intelligent effective youth leadership.
The NAACP chapter at Farmingdale is much more than just activism and civic engagement. It is about having a collective of individuals that encourage one another to advocate for themselves and those who look like us to strive for the education we all deserve despite our experiences. It is about creating a platform for students of color to voice their opinions and take the initiative to ensure that Farmingdale is held responsible for implementing advancement relative to our student body.
I want our chapter to guarantee students of color a place of safety. The NAACP is where students are able to foster a relationship with all communities of color since we are in an institution where we are not the majority. It is a space where students are able to be themselves and not feel the need to conform and assimilate due to the outside atmosphere. It is where people of color are able to speak in their dialect and vernacular freely and have no constraints on their identities and many more.
“Being able to surround myself with people who look like me and can relate to the same things is why I joined the NAACP. I needed a safe space to be myself and feel comfortable, and the NAACP gives me that. Nothing but pure love and joy from everyone. I love genuine energy.”
— Precious Mann
With the little time I have left here, I want to aid in creating a strong community. I want to do this by proposing a mentorship program. Coming into college can be intimidating and hard to maneuver. All we have is each other in this school and we need help looking out for one another. This program would randomly pair an underclassman with an upperclassman with similar interests. Think of it like having a guardian angel or a big brother or little sister on campus that you can always rely on, find comfort in, and get through obstacles here at Farmingdale. With the help of my peers, I would like to also ensure that programs, initiatives, and resources put in place by the Founder of Farmingdale’s NAACP chapter (Darrien Hunt) last for future students of color who wish to attend Farmingdale.
My personal goal for the NAACP is to create a tight-knit community where we will always have one another’s back no matter the circumstance. I hope to amplify and deepen my thoughts, as well as my peers, on the NAACP chapter’s role on campus. I want to be able to find refuge in people who have similar experiences as me. I want to be able to laugh and create memories with beautiful people. I want to be able to share cultural things and not have it become a trend. I want to be there for anyone of color in need. I want to be able to put others on to great opportunities. I want us ALL to be up there, simple.
Spaces like the NAACP WILL prosper and age beyond graduation. The NAACP is paving the way for other clubs. Students with all these different intersectionalities are creating their own communities. It excites me to know that because of the NAACP Chapter, students are taking the initiative to form other clubs based on their cultural backgrounds. Having this plethora of diversity working together to advance one another is a beautiful sight.
Students at FSC can join the NAACP through RamCentral