Black women on Albion College’s campus, both students and alumni, have been doing phenomenal work to create a more inclusive space for marginalized students.
From Ida B. Wells to Angela Davis to Laverne Cox, Black women have historically been on the front lines as trail blazers for change while simultaneously being one of the most disrespected, unprotected and neglected women in this country and around the world. Despite being constantly struck down by society, Black women continually rise up.
Black women on Albion’s campus are no different. Despite all the trials and tribulations they have to face on an everyday basis, Black women at Albion continue to take charge in leadership roles and make campus a place for the better. And they deserve their credit.
The Pleiad’s “Black Women Winning” series aims to highlight Black women on campus and all they have achieved and continue to achieve.
Leiyah Denson is a senior from St.Clair Shores. She majors in psychology and business with a minor in ethnic studies. Complementing her studies, Denson is actively working to bring an organization called Active Minds to Albion College’s campus.
“Active minds is an organization that seeks to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and gets people talking about it so that people don’t have to feel ashamed,” said Denson. “They hope to do that through education and advocacy work.”
The reason behind Denson’s motivation toward bringing Active Minds to campus is her interest in the mental health of all people.
“I’ve always liked psychology and abnormal psych, so I really wanted an organization that was focused on mental health exclusively,” said Denson.
Denson knows it takes no shortage of work to bring an organization to Albion’s campus, but she is determined, nevertheless. She has created an interest survey that she is sending to students and academic departments to gauge how much other students are ready for this organization to come to campus.
“I really want to make sure that [Active Minds] isn’t just recruiting psychology people,” said Denson. “I want it to be something that’s important to everybody because it affects everybody, whether it’s direct or not.”
Along with working to bring Active Minds to campus, Denson is also involved with Diversibility as the organization’s secretary.
“I started as a sophomore, and I’ve always kind of liked Umbrella groups, because growing up with my background, there weren’t many groups focused on diversity and including people,” said Denson. “[Joining Diversibility] was also a learning moment, because I didn’t know that much about disabilities even though we have people in our lives with disabilities. I just didn’t really know that much about them because a lot of times their stories are marginalized and stereotyped.”
Diversibility to Denson is not just an organization, but an organization filled with people who can make real change through the Albion College community and beyond.
“Being a part of Diversibility has been like a growth for me personally,” said Denson. “Learning about it and also trying to become a better member of the organization while also becoming better at getting other people to try to learn about these issues.”