When I think of Mississippi, I think of cotton fields and confederates; civil war and slavery; and “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday. So why on earth would I, a black immigrant woman, want to go to a place that I see this way? I’ve found myself at a crossroads: part of me not wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone and the other is excited, intrigued and enthralled in the idea of going somewhere new and unknown.
Over the course of 6 weeks, I met the students I would be working with in Mississippi and was instantly immersed in ways to improve the group dynamic. My favorite assignment thus far was to find ways to describe Oxford, MS without using American Community Survey (ACS) data. This forced me to think outside the box to describe Oxford, MS. This allowed me to recognize that there is more to a community than what the statistics represent.
My glimpse into Oxford has shown me the rich history and culture of this small city in the Mississippi Delta and has added another layer to my perceptions of Mississippi. I can’t wait for the opportunity to engage with community members, explore American Community Survey Data and perhaps, fall in love with the Mississippi Delta.