One Bobcat sparked the initiation of organizations that invoke change by starting conversations and representing understated artists and activists.
Isha Rosemond, English junior, started MLNNheal, a social issue discussion group, is the curator of Prototyp(e)FILM and works for Camp-Pericare, a Haitian non-government organization.
Prototyp(e)FILM is a website which serves to diversely represent African American women, Haitian and black people all over the world. Rosemond began this project last year while living in Austin and noticing the lack of African American artists and activists representation.
“It was something I felt had to be done,” Rosemond said. “I feel like there is this cut-off culture where a black person or any person of color feels they have to represent this culture as a whole, and they carry this responsibility thinking ‘I’m the only one here, I have to do this, I have to act this way’.”
With Prototyp(e)FILM, Rosemond wanted to show black women, simply being black women.
“I wanted to make sure these were black women were connected to their communities and doing something in their communities,” Rosemond said.
The website includes Rosemond’s personally filmed stories of African American artists and activists.
“I feel like art is activism and everybody has to find their place in reforming this social climate, and it doesn’t have to be one where you are out in the streets protesting,” Rosemond said. “That is why I really wanted artists and activists to come forward.”
Rosemond also founded MLNNheal, which is a monthly event held for millennials of color to connect and converse on social issues and exchange solutions.
“I wanted a place were everyone is enjoying music, making films, doing art and talking about real issues and solutions,” Rosemond said.
William L Wysong, Rosemond’s boyfriend and active participant in MLNNheal, said attendees can expect to get a broad spectrum of views and opinions of millennials inside and outside of the university sphere.
“MLNNheal is a great event where millennials of color can speak candidly about issues that affect their everyday lives and explore solutions to better the community they are a part of,” Wysong said.
Rosemond said MLNNheal is a way to connect with different people and gain different perspectives.
“They can come in, and together we can learn what other people are saying about certain movements; how can they help us out, what privileges do they have that we can gather together and use,” Rosemond said.
Emmy Orioha, political science junior, said Rosemond was great at fostering the environment of the event.
“What Isha did was provide a space for millennials to frankly discuss and share some of our current struggles and ways we view the world today,” Orioha said. “More importantly she provided courses of actions, groups and resources that are out there for people to make changes in their communities.”
Hirrah Barlas, a friend of Rosemond, said she likes the work that MLNNheal is doing, especially for millennials of color.
“We need a space to talk stuff out, share our experiences and figure out how to work toward a society that is better for all of us,” Barlas said. “These events are all about sharing, healing and starting conversations about what we need to do to build a better world.”
Rosemond also got involved with a nonprofit organization, Camp Pericare, when she was asked to help with the creation of the website.
Camp Pericare is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to inspire, empower and improve the lives of the people of Camp-Perrin in Haiti. The organization focuses on health, education and community development.
Through her involvement with the organization, Rosemond also had the opportunity to travel to Haiti for a month.
Throughout her journey Rosemond hopes to bring awareness to social issues. Rosemond has experienced difficulties, but it isn’t something that stops her from continuing her work.
“I know there are going to be bumps on the road, but I am not worried about that,” Rosemond said. “All they are going to do is make me think about it harder.”
Rosemond said knowing what she is doing is bigger than her, pushes her to keep going.
“I’m trying to make a space where black women can join and realize they are not one of those tropes that people have tried to tie nicely into a box,” Rosemond said. “They are more than that.”
Rosemond said overall she is creating spaces where all people of color can come out, join forces and show they are not worried about what society has depicted them as.
Rosemond said ultimately her works message is to stand united with the majority.
“We all have the power to influence, we just have to sit there and realize we all have different struggles,” Rosemond said. “But if we come together and say I am not going to stand there for you to be abused this way and you’re not going to stand there for me to be exploited this way, then we can easily make a huge difference.”