Dalia Ouedraogo ’21 remembers the day TCNJ students called her friends a derogatory term. While the racist remark wasn’t directed at her, as a fellow Black woman, it made her question her own place at the college. “I sometimes felt viewed as a Black person instead of just a person on campus,” she says.
Ouedraogo’s story is told in I Am TCNJ: A Docu-Story Project, a series of videos produced by TCNJ faculty and students as a vehicle for the community to open their minds and hearts to the experiences of others. The project, unveiled online in April, is catching attention, most notably from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which nominated it for two 2021 Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy Awards.
The segment “Now Is the Time” was nominated in the Interactive Media category and was up against local, professional NBC and FOX stations. “To My Professors” received a nod in the Education/Schools — Short Form Content (single story) category.
While the video project as a whole is receiving its due praise, it’s the stories within the documentary that really shine.
Throughout the videos, Ouedraogo and 28 other students share their experiences and reflect on 10 different timely themes, including privilege, microaggressions, unconscious biases, and institutional racism.
“I don’t want to be stereotyped or be judged because I’m a Black woman,” Ouedraogo says. “I felt that I had to work harder because I am Black. I had to show that I belonged here.”
Ouedraogo hopes the video leads to action, not just awards.
“I hope that everyone listens to the stories,” she says. “We don’t have to sweep these issues under the rug. We have stories worth telling. We showed our voices matter.”
Photo: I Am TCNJ: A Docu-Story Project