Never Devaule Your Worth
I remember when one of my childhood friends got shot. News spread like wildfire around my neighborhood. Growing up in East Harlem, New York I knew as a young Black male I was more likely to end up in jail than attend college. Not too many of the people I know made it out. A couple of them are either locked up or dead.
For me education was my escape. I loved to learn and I did this through reading and writing. When I first put pen to paper I created something that would be my ticket to education. I excelled well in high school yet still struggled to understand the importance of living and succeeding. I wanted to be like others hanging out with all the girls and flashy clothes. However I knew there had to be more outside of Harlem.
I graduate high school top 20 in my class and went to Binghamton University. In college I failed hard. I had no idea what the hell I was doing. All I knew was that no one in my family had ever done it before. I struggled to succeed and at one time considered dropping out. It wasn't until I visited my uncle in jail did I push myself to graduate. You see Black men in America are targets of injustice, pain. and profiling. My uncle in that green jumpsuit was facing a hard reality. If I did not get my education I would more than likely be there.
I knew I was struggling. I decided to speak and join organizations where I spoke with other marginalized students about our issues. This is when I wanted to focus on helping other students like myself graduate. Once I graduated from Binghamton I worked in undergraduate admissions as a Alumni Representative. I spoke with parents, students, and co workers about what we needed to create and equitable campus. This pushed me to apply for law school however I did not get in.
Again defeated I wanted to quit. I knew this was the kick in the ass I needed so I went back to my writing and acquired my MFA at Queens College. During this time I lost my grandfather and broke up with my girlfriend of three years. I went into a dark place and wanted to stay in my rut. After the dust cleared, I went back to understanding my mission, and that was to serve others who looked like me.
I decided to go to Texas State for my M.Ed. My graduate program in Texas was a transition. I experienced racism, a unsupportive cohort. and my relationships with my faculty advisors weren't great. I again felt like quitting. I found a family in our Student Diversity Office where I became an intern. In this intern I worked helping young college men with identity and development. I worked with upper administrators on our campus climate, and was a strong advocate during a time of uprise when our students wanted justice.
I write all this to say. I have doubted myself but never doubted the vision. Our Black is beautiful. As a new Student Affairs professional working in Multicultural affairs at a small college everyday is a struggle. Students from marginalized communities are struggling, I see me in them and I have to continue this work. The struggle are not without great pains, but within those barriers you find yourself, you find your purpose.
Sean is a first-generation African-American who is a new Student Affairs professional advocating for social justice and underrepresented student populations. A 2009 graduate of Binghamton University, State University of New York where he obtained a B.A. in English and Sociology. Sean has worked to push forth ideas and ways to increase the retention of marginalized identities. Sean has also acquired a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Queens College, City University of New York in 2012 and a Master of Education in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Texas State University in 2018. Sean grew up in East Harlem, New York where poverty is high and many young Black male are either in gangs or incarcerated. Attending St. Raymond High School for Boys in the Bronx. NY was where he found his escape. After graduating in 2005, Sean knew he wanted to serve students and work in the education field. Today he is a higher education professional working in Multicultural Affairs fighting and promoting equity for all underrepresented youth.
Sean Educational History:
2005 - HS Graduate, St. Raymond High School for Boys
2009 - BA in English and sociology, Binghamton University, State University of New York
2012 - MFA in creative writing, Queens College, City University of New York
2018 - M.Ed in higher education and student affairs, Texas State University
Connect with Sean:
Sean Hembrick (LinkedIn)