AmeriCorps Member Spotlight: Meet La’Daja Miller
Meet La’Daja Miller
Everyone decides to do a year of service for a different reason. For me, I chose to do a year of service because I noticed the lack of young people in my community giving back in the way that City Year promotes. I didn’t see many people doing positive things as young people to give the youth a figure to look up to. I wanted to be that person for someone.
I decided to come back to City Year Milwaukee for a second year of service because I wanted to lead a group of people to do some of the same things that I was able to experience coming into City Year as a first year AmeriCorps member. I liked that coming back as a Team Leader would allow me the opportunity to lead a group of my peers, and continue to give back to my community.
During my first year of service, I had the opportunity to work with so many brave, strong, brilliant 7th grade girls, who had a huge impact on me, and continue to inspire me each day.
Writing, Dear Black Girl
My service year last year inspired me to write Dear Black Girl. I decided to title my book Dear Black Girl because that’s who I write for. I tell the stories of Black girls who have yet to find their voice because too often are we collectively silenced and that is not okay. The best way for me to express myself is through words written on paper so I decided to write something for Black girls everywhere, including my students from last year, so that in one way or another, we are able to hear one another.
Representation matters, specifically in literature because the best and only effective way for our stories to be told is by us. For us by us. And this is something I saw firsthand during my year of service.
Toni Morrison, one of my favorite Black authors, once said, “if there is a book that you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” This quote reminds me of why I started to write Dear Black Girl. As a writer, most times the goal is to write stories that have not yet been told or written. I wrote Dear Black Girl because I wanted the message to entail something that I have not yet read, and create a book that other Black women and girls can read and relate to, an opportunity to read the pages of a book, see themselves, and know that they are not alone.
My book, Dear Black Girl, is all about self-love and self-acceptance. It’s a source/ tool that speaks to the very day life of a Black girl growing up in the city. I dedicated my book to my students that I served because those girls are so brave and so strong and I wanted them to know that no matter what, if I am not physically a part of their journeys and their lives, my words always are.
Article written by City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member, La’Daja Miller, author of Dear Black Girl, and the Wandering Mind of She
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