Salina Tesfagiorgis is a IU senior majoring in international studies with a concentration in human rights and international law. Tesfagiorgis is in her first-year joint bachelor's/master's degree program at the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.
She maintains her education while supporting her community.
“I hope to study Black internationalism and spread the notion of how culturally significant Black people have been at a global scale, while also discussing how the discrepancies and discrimination that Black people face in the United States and globally are issues of human rights,” Tesfagiorgis said.
Tesfagiorgis is the President of IU’s African Students Association and peer educator for the Preemptive Love Coalition. She is also on an advisory board to Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and is in charge of public relations for the Eleanor Roosevelt Society.
She is the co-founder of Enough is Enough, a student-led organization which held a march June 5 in Bloomington to bring awareness to police brutality. Since then, the march has turned into an organization full of leaders advocating for the Black community and generations to come.
Tesfagiorgis's participation in these organizations aids in her mission to dehomogenize blackness and Africanness.
“These positions on campus and off are to liberate the voices of Black people," Tesfagiorgis said," and these positions essentially grant me with the ability to create safe spaces for students, have meaningful and effective conversations and to even help create courses within the school of Global and International studies that have a focus on Black internationalism.”
She said it is critical students make time for themselves and their mental health throughout college — especially during a time where racial tensions are high.
“College can get overwhelming not only academically but it can take a toll on your mental well being as well, especially when you’re one of few," she said. "It can be pretty isolating. Make it a priority to give yourselves days off because you will need it.”
She also believes students must advocate for themselves and others.
“Don’t be afraid to speak up when you’re uncomfortable," she said. "This one is hard, especially when in a class. If a peer or professor says something that you do not feel is right, don’t shy away from speaking up on it. Their credentials don’t invalidate your right to speak.”
Uplifting Black stories, perspectives and art from IU and Bloomington. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.