Dr. Deidra Dennie is Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Transylvania University. She was recently appointed to the Affordable Housing Commission in Lexington by Lexington’s Mayor Linda Gorton.
Narrative from original post:
Deidra: “Starting a new job is always stressful, exciting and a bit of a risk. Couple that with driving 12 hours with a 16-year-old deaf dog and you’ve got a recipe for an interesting story. Now add in the pandemic of Covid-19 and the civil rights movement of the 21st Century, it becomes a novel.
Professionally, I am thriving. FINALLY, the work I do and my energy have found a space to be seen, heard and respected. I am seeing outcomes as workplaces have new expectations of holding people accountable at work. I was thrilled when I saw the letter from past president Williams that affirmed black lives matter; that was a very brave move in light of the protests that were happening in Lexington. That letter encouraged me and solidified my decision to come to Transy.
Personally, I am fatigued. The constant barrage of murders has exhausted me; why are people of African descent in constant peril? I have two sons, ages 25 & 28; every day, as they move about their life, they have to choose between exercising their civil rights or death. Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Aubry affected me deeply; I grew up in Louisville, KY and one of my sons is the same age Ahmaud will be forever. I remember when the Black Lives Matter Movement started in 2013 after the murder of Trayvon Martin. My youngest son was 17, wearing hoodies and headphones; that was the standard dress for teenagers. I can remember asking him not to wear a hoodie when he went out at night to hang out with his friends; that made me sick, but my son’s safety was more important. As a black mother with black sons, I never get a good night’s sleep. I am on constant alert for their ringtones in the middle of the night. Ahmaud was hunted and murdered in the bright light of day, and now my phone never leaves my sight. This shit is traumatic. Every day I have to compartmentalize my anger, hurt, and fear so that it does not spill over into my work.
To do my job well requires building relationships. Covid is a connection killer, so I am looking forward to being on campus once the semester starts, seeing more people, especially students. I have met some amazing people who are genuinely interested in diversity, equity and inclusion, and others who want to be and just need help finding their footing. I am truly thrilled to be here to support, resource and assist in connecting people to the work of inclusion, equity and justice.”