BLA executive members prepare for elections

Lavette Williams, Editor-in-Chief

As the spring semester goes into full swing, many of Black Lioness Alliance’s (BLA) executive members brace themselves for their final months with the organization.

I have had the opportunity to sit down with University of North Alabama seniors Mykiria Woods and Keairria Hall and listen as they reflect on their college journey and try to push back the clouds and look ahead at their future.

Like many members, Woods and Halls’ interest with BLA began with only an instagram post about Meet and Greet, and a desire to making new friends. They would attend BLA’s weekly meetings and events. Never did the two expect to be an official member of group, let alone an executive member.

Williams: What drew you to join?
Hall: Their slogan was that they were a “safe place for black women.” Also, I’ve always been shy and to myself. So, when this club was started, I saw it as an opportunity to get to know everyone at the same time.

Williams: How did you get moved up?
Hall: I didn’t start on the board when I joined the club. I started volunteering with them, hanging flyers, and trying to help in any way. Then, the BLA President [Aliyah McCary] came to me and asked if I wanted to be a part of the planning committee. At the time, we had a member leave the committee because they had a lot going on so I took over their position.

Williams: How has being in this position benefitted you?
Hall: I’m a theater major. We put a lot of events together and have a lot of due dates. It helps me stay in line and be on top of what I need to do. It has showed me that even though I have classes and extra assignments, I can still do what I want to do with the group and that later in life, I can do anything.

Williams: What would someone have to do to be a part of exec?
Hall: For one, they will have to show that they want to be a part of the club by showing up to [almost] every event, wanting to help, and communicating with the girls. Basically, they have to show interest. If they want to be a part of the board, I would say that they need to speak to one of the people that is already on the board. Ask questions and apply for it.

Williams: How does it feel to be graduating this May?
Hall: I’m just getting started in the group. It’s been a part of my college experience. Without BLA, I wouldn’t even feel a part of campus. I gained so many friends from this club. Letting go of [BLA] is going to hit hard.

Williams: What appealed to you?
Woods: [BLA] is very diverse and lets everyone join, but I was interested in being the first group on campus for black women. This was my first time seeing something like this outside of sororities. I also like how we are able to sit down and talk about what’s going on in the world. I like that we’re able to be open with each other. It’s not like we’re a group. It’s like we’re in a big family.

Williams: How did you get moved up?
Woods: At the time the secretary position had opened up and I wanted to put myself in a position that I had never done before. I like to push and challenge myself to do things outside of my comfort zone. I reached out to [Aliyah] and told her I was interested.

Williams: What is your role?
Woods: As a secretary, I do a lot of paperwork. I go to the meetings, take notes for those who might not be able to attend, get t-shirt sizes and write up emails. I do a lot of the communicating.

Williams: How has it benefitted you?
Woods: With me joining this group and taking class, it kind of has me [improving] my managing skills. I am a person who procrastinates a lot so once I took on this position, I pushed me to get everything done. It has also helped me open up. I’m an introvert so it’s help open up to speaking with different people and given me the opportunity to talk to others about BLA.

Williams: Have you considered reapplying for your position?
Woods: I can if I wanted to, but there were a few other members wanting to take on leadership roles. I don’t want to hog the position. When we’re in college, we should try to network and put ourselves in different positions. But, if I have to I will stay in this position to help the new executive members.

Williams: What is your favorite part about BLA?
Woods: I like kickball because it gave us the chance to let loose. The pumpkin painting was also very fun. We try to go out to eat and play … just be our regular selves, be comfortable.

The group has already had many of its members applying to be an executive member; however, voting will not take place until March. Once the decision is made, the previous executive staff will spend the rest of the semester mentoring their replacements.

Even after graduation, both Hall and Woods planned to remain in touch with BLA. They still will be receiving questions in the GroupMe. This is the kind of friendship the group has cultivated doesn’t just go away.