Tychirra Moreno Makes Black History Month Come Alive
Tychirra Moreno, ’19, is a problem solver on a mission. The Diversity and Intercultural Engagement Fellow at Westminster College says that last fall she decided Black History Month would be a noticeable presence on campus. “I took it upon myself to ensure that Black History Month was celebrated at Westminster this year,” she says.
As a result, Moreno spent several weeks researching and compiling information in order to generate one Black History Month post per day on social media throughout the month of February. Posts are found on the Center for Faith and Service social media pages on Facebook and Instagram here and here.
The St. Louis native also scheduled a variety of campus events, including the Feb. 17 poetry reading and performance by David Mills. Read further to learn more about Moreno’s life after graduating last May with degrees in psychology and Spanish, what she says others should know about Black History Month and what she does when she isn’t planning programs or serving as a listening ear for students.
What would you say is unique about your position?
I try to make it known that students may come to me at any time with questions or concerns surrounding any type of campus or world issue of diversity. I personally take it upon myself to learn about that issue and break it down for them, and I will hold a Diversity Dialogue on the issue if the need seems to be that great. Diversity Dialogues are a platform for issues of diversity ― of race, gender, class, thought, etc. ― to be discussed. There isn’t to be a right or wrong side to choose at the end. Instead, it’s just a platform for both, or more, sides to be heard.
Please tell a little bit about your social media posts for Black History Month.
On social media, I attempted to present a female and male in each category: “Writers,” “Government.” I did not realize, however, that our history wasn’t as well-known as I’d previously assumed. This led me to make highlights about any and every important black figure rather than focusing on “firsts.” I just went for a hodgepodge of everything. The highlights were adopted by Student Life Fellow Hannah Macon, ‘19, and are now also being printed and posted in Hunter Activity Center.
What would you like others to understand about Black History Month?
I think that for any one person to understand another person, they need to know about their history and care about the impact it has had on that person. For any group of people to try to care for/relate to/grow with African Americans, I think it’s crucial that they take an interest in our history and how their history and our history brought both groups to where we are now. Most importantly, black history did not start and end with slavery! We are an amazing group of people who have so much to be proud of and to look forward to, and that doesn’t have to be slavery centered (not to say that slavery is something that anyone should look past, because it is this country’s history as well as something that is still sending shock waves through our country today). But it isn’t the totality of the African American identity. Just a segment of it.
What advice would you give black prospective students?
When choosing a predominantly white institution over a historically black university, my response is similar: Do you want a challenge that will prepare you for the real world, or do you want to be happy and thrive in a social bubble for the next four years? College isn’t easy. If you are someone who wants to effect change and is up for a challenge, then I invite you to attend Westminster.
What do you do in your free time?
Dance around my apartment, work out and cook.
Last book you read?
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ‒ Dr. Seuss
Favorite TV show/movie?
TV show: Dr. Who; movie: Cloud Atlas