Nominated By Corrie Whitfield
“Ashlee is a social justice warrior. From being on the front lines in nearly every protest locally fighting injustices, to empowering girls and women, to serving the community through her work with nonprofits, the Colorado Beautillion-Cotillion, and in school as a leader in her high school BSA (Black Student Alliance). Ashlee’s leadership skills are unparalleled. We are so excited to see who she continues to become!“
My Black Colorado Interview
Tell me what school do you go to, what year you’re in, and what other activities you’re involved with?
I’m a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School. The things I’m involved in are pretty much just basketball right now, and I also work at Target part-time.
What do you think others would say they like about and value most about you and why?
I think they would say they like my personality the most because I’m very selfless; I like to put others before me most. I also have a really positive mindset.
Can you give some examples of how you’re selfless when it comes to the way you carry yourself?
If I come across somebody that’s having a bad day and if I’m also having a bad day, I would put whatever I’m going through aside and try to uplift them before I would attempt to do the same for myself. I’d try to make them feel better.
Your mom mentioned you were involved with social justice work and advocating for people. Can you talk more about what you’ve been involved with and what you like about that work?
I’ve been to many different protests with my mom. She has this non-profit group called 100 Women and Black and I’ve done a lot of work with them; they’ve had rallies and such like at the State Capitol. So, just trying to advocate and be there for people who weren’t able to go to the protest or whatnot.
Why do you think it’s important for you to be at those events, protests, etc?
I think it’s important for not just me, but for any teenager or young adult because that’s what we’re going to be dealing with in the future. So, we need to open our eyes to have a good understanding of what it’s going on and how the world actually is. I feel like we should really be a part of that for ourselves and for our future.
Since you participated in these protests, what have you learned from being in that environment? What have you experienced from being in those environments?
I would say that I learned you have to be there for yourself and you need to also learn how to be there for others too. Because, at the same time, it’s a group effort for the community to work together.
Can you explain a little bit more of what you mean by being there for yourself and others?
I would say, for example, the Black Lives Matter protest, the cops don’t really care. They’re not going to be there for you. So you’re there for yourself and other people who are also fighting for the same thing.
What was it like being in that environment?
It was definitely stressful and a lot of different emotions at once: mad, sad, and scared. You have to have a lot of courage to be there going into all of that because it’s just so much going on. It’s hard.
What is the best advice someone has given you recently?
I would say the best advice would be when things get hard, don’t let it completely tear you down; you need to still stand strong. When things do get hard that’s only to be used as your motivation to keep pushing. Don’t give up no matter how hard things get. Always keep pushing.
That’s good advice, who gave you that advice?
What’s one thing that you want to get better at?
I want to get better at expressing myself and my feelings more because right now, I don’t really express myself that much or at all. It can get hard pushing all of your feelings inside and it can be a lot to deal with all at once.
What would be the benefit for other people when you express yourself?
Well, I could help other people in the same situation if they also don’t know how to express themselves. When they see other people doing it, then it can give them the courage to do the same and they can learn as well.
What accomplishment or awards are you most proud of and why?
I’m most proud of getting accepted into my two top colleges right now: Langston University and UNC because I feel like I worked hard to get to that point.
Can you tell me a little bit while what your interest is in going to a black college?
It’s a good way to open doors, get more experience in different things, and learn more about my culture.
What impact have you made in the community that you are most proud of?
I think I would be most proud of the protests and rallies just because it helps a community for the long run. It’s not just a temporary change because it’s meant to help build for the future and make it stronger. Bring us together in the future not just right now.
What is one piece of advice that you think adults need to hear to help them to connect better with the younger generation?
I just think that they should listen and trust the youth more because I feel like in their minds, we’re just kids who don’t really know anything. But we know a lot more than they actually give us credit for, so don’t block us out just because we’re younger.
What do you see yourself doing for your career?
I want to become a veterinarian because I just love animals and be able to do anything to keep them alive and well.
What impact has your family had on your growth?
I feel like my family has helped in many different ways because they’re always there for me and push me to do my best for myself and my future.