Representation and Inspiration

Beck Tate, Staff Writer

Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) held their 37th Annual High School Journalism Day on Friday, October 7 with special guest Keisha Grant, an anchor for NBC Connecticut. This year’s conference was particularly special because Covid-19 had put a halt on the event for the past two years and Grant has been trying to make it out to a convention for almost a decade.

Grant was spreading her knowledge about the journalism and reporting industry and encouraging the many students attending the conference to “work hard for what they believe in and accomplish their dreams,” whether rooted in her profession or not. Though the annual event was focused on journalism, Grant offered more than just tips and tricks to make it in the industry. As not only a woman but an African American woman, climbing her way to the top of the journalism profession left much to be desired. “You seem angry,” a co-worker had said to her after she’d simply asked a question. Perhaps it was her tone that gave them such an idea, or maybe they were just being blatantly racist, but the words spoken didn’t sit well with Grant. Many similar situations were shared; a reporter refused to shake her hand due to the color of her skin, for example. But she made something of all these encounters. She used their unnecessary hatred and hostility to fuel her through her work and climb to the top.

One student who was especially moved by Grant’s speech was brave enough to share that he’d experienced racist stereotypes akin to hers at his school, and he’d found her resilience and overcoming inspirational. Having a model such as Grant to look up and relate to is huge for the journalism and reporting industry. It’s easier to believe you can achieve your goals when you see someone like yourself has, and Keisha Grant has given so many young POC not only the knowledge, but the tools to be successful with the help of SCSU.