Emma Hoff is a student at Central Piedmont Community College who puts a strong emphasis on equity, with a specific focus on the public health sphere. Even as a high school junior she earned the title of president for her college service club. She believes in the power of being a mentor, and that is what leads her to take positions of leadership, despite the fears that lack of experience may raise. She is currently working with her fellow Central Piedmont students to partner with students from institutions around the City of Charlotte, to work on the issue of racial justice. They will be opening racial healing circles to the public, where she and her student colleagues will be leading sessions. She has been the embodiment of service since she reached the campus, and we believe that will be with her moving forward.
As an African-American female, I am no stranger to the system of inequity. I’ve asked myself, over and over, what can I do to create a better future for people of color; for women-identified persons? I don’t want those coming after me to experience the things I’ve experienced. What steps can be taken to ensure this? I believe Ubuntu is apart of the ultimate answer. Ubuntu is a South African word Desmond Tutu translated to mean “my humanity is inextricably connected, hand in hand, with yours.” Ubuntu means acknowledgment of common humanity; a shared humanity. When I become intimately aware of the struggles of another group or person, I am propelled to do the work to create change on behalf of them, and this is only the beginning. The work doesn't stop at acknowledgement of the reality of my own and others group affiliation. Intentional action is needed. This means the root of an issue should be understood, pain and inequity acknowledged, awareness created, and efforts to create equity initiated. As a Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium fellow, I am studying my city’s past regarding racism, learning to facilitate the sharing and acknowledgement of common humanity, and executing a community project.