Examining the activism experiences of Black women graduate students
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to examine the activism experiences of Black women graduate students. Understanding how these women defined activism in their terms, as well as factors that influenced their activism, were important topics for investigation. This qualitative investigation employed a phenomenological approach to "discover and describe the meaning or essence of participants' lived experiences, or knowledge as it appears to consciousness" (Hays & Singh, 2014, p. 50). The conceptual framework used for this study was Black feminist thought, expressly the dimensions of Black women's activism (Collins, 2009). One dimension of the framework is struggles for group survival which consist of daily actions within Black women’s social spheres to influence change (Collins, 2009). Institutional transformation, the second dimension, involves actions taken to challenge and eliminate discrimination within public institutions (Collins, 2009). In total, there were 17 findings which are as follows: 1) defining activism is complex; 2) activism happens in different ways along a continuum; 3) activism comes with expectations 4) recognizing injustice and understanding identity; 5) learning and developing the language; 6) observing and testing the waters; 7) performing activism; 8) burnout and introspection; 9) reconciliation and expanded perspectives; 10) activism came with challenges and consequences; 11) personal characteristics shaped their activism; 12) the influence of others shaped their activism; and 13) social media influenced their activism; 14) activism and the student experience was interconnected and inseparable; 15) race and gender influenced their activism; 16) activism required a sacrifice of time and energy; and 17) they gained new skills and knowledge that they passed to others.