#MelaninatedExcellence: Tekita Bankhead

In higher education, you don’t always get the opportunity to meet too many authentic people who are just unabashedly themselves and its one of the many reasons why I have so much love for the Southern Association of College Student Affairs (SACSA). Because of a SACSA conference years ago, I met a small group of people that are simply amazing . One of the first friends I ever made in the field of higher education was Tekita Bankhead (shout out to my SACSA fam!) who is never scared to represent the ‘Sip and Delta! Our #MelaninatedExcellence spotlight goes to someone that I respect for all of their hardwork and jewels they’ve constantly given to me over the years, both personally and professionally.  The support that I receive from this wonderful spirit is real and I appreciate everything that she’s done for me. Today, we recognize Ms. Tekita Bankhead, a woman of grace and fortitude!

What Does Blackness Mean to Me in 2017?

When I first received this prompt, I wasn’t quite sure where to begin. My Blackness is so encompassing that I can’t really pull out a specific facet of my Blackness, especially in the context of the year of the Orange Disaster. What I can say is that as I enter into 2017, I have never been so comfortable celebrating my Blackness. My Blackness is everything that is “right” about me and the courage to challenge anything in the world that says otherwise. My life’s passion is helping Black people become their optimal, whole selves. Much of our lives, we have internalized messages that say that we are not enough–not smart enough, talented enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, and a bunch of other lies. I am on a journey to help my people understand that their Blackness, alone, has made them more than enough. Our Blackness has powers that are incomprehensible by most of the world and are unable to be duplicated, no matter how often many try. Our Blackness is hope, resilience, restoration, creativity, innovation, style, flavor, beauty, versatility, genius, support, uplift, but most importantly, love.

Who is Tekita Bankhead?

Tekita is dynamic Health and Student Affairs professional who enjoys holistically developing Black students and challenging them through social justice dialogue and supportive mentorship. She received her M.S. in Counselor Education with an Emphasis of Student Affairs Administration from Mississippi State University and her Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Mississippi University for Women. Tekita currently focuses her efforts on strengthening relationships within the Black family, infusing Black Feminist theory into every space she enters, and promoting mental wellness and self-care within the Black community. When she’s not saving the world one student at a time, she enjoys traveling, duck-walking with her Sorors, planning imaginary weddings on Pinterest, writing poetry, concerts, supporting Black businesses, and equally stanning for Brandy and Beyonce (because both are Queens in her eyes).

About #MelaninatedExcellence series: It is important to highlight unsung heroes in our community that don’t always get the recognition they deserve. They don’t clamor for recognition nor do they feel they deserve it. To them, they furthering their ancestors’ dreams and they just want to make a difference. These are the people that work with the next generation of leaders in our communities, our students, our teachers, a family member, and everything in between. These are the stories that need to be heard as counter narratives to mainstream media. This is #melaninatedexcellence.

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