I had the pleasure of interviewing Bria Roberts
– Alieshia Nunnally
Hello, my name is Bria Roberts I am 27 years old and I am a recent graduate of California State University Long Beach. Last year I was honored with the task of creating a support/empowerment group for young black women living on campus. I am currently working on impacting the preschool to prison pipeline for young black girls by creating discipline intervention practices that keep inner-city youth in school for the purpose of exposing them to opportunities and options that are outside of the norm.
Q: How do you empower women and young girls? Tell me a little bit more about the support group?
– It’s in many ways like a therapy/mental wellness group so we begin with meditation mindfulness and centering of the self. We then have topics that we discuss i.e. beauty in America, residual effects of drug addiction, safety and existence as black women etc. to close we always discuss practices/tactics on how to best navigate spaces and situations where we are triggered.
Q: Why made you want to inspire and empower women?
– Well, there are quite a few people in my family, particularly the women who have challenges with mental health. In college that’s where many of us experienced our first battle with mental illness, whether it be depression, anxiety or something else. That sparked my interest in trying to figure out why we carry so much as black women. I just wanted to talk about it and have space where other women could talk about it and learn from other women. Different women from different walks of life, different ages where we all felt safe to share. Space where our anger wouldn’t be frightening but understood, and where people believe in tears of join, not just pain. I wanted to start the group because we needed it. It’s so important these days so young people know they are not alone. That’s how we fall into the cycle.
Q: What’s something you would tell your younger self?
– I would tell my younger self, “you can’t see where you are going if you don’t hold your head up, you will also drop your crown.” As a young woman growing up in the hood with a mother battling depression it’s easy to pick up on unhealthy thoughts and coping mechanisms. However, younger me would not understand that though. “Younger me needed to see women that looked like me who made it out of that situation.” Back then, I also needed someone who knew how and when to intervene but in the midst of all that I still felt lost. I didn’t know what it meant to love myself, to see beauty when I look in the mirror. Maybe because I never believed I would have made it out. It wasn’t on my own though. Along the way, black women had always seen me be bigger than what I was which gave me something to strive for at every point. It was empowering and so encouraging. I just want to give that back to our your women in the community.