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Kimani Clark

Need Level

4.3/5

Amount Needed

$66,000

Merit Level

3.9/5

Class Standing

Junior

College GPA

3.71

Major

Global Health

USC

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Personal Statement

I sat on the cold toilet seat one winter morning. With a bag of dry ramen noodles in one hand and a box of apple juice in the other, my mom struggles to brush through my kinky hair. I was extremely tender-headed and with every yank of the brush, I screamed aloud in pain. Not too long afterwards, I decided enough is enough. I looked at the doll sitting on my nightstand, with its straight, sleek hair. “I want that”, I thought to myself. I grabbed a hairbrush and attempted to brush my hair “straight.” It didn’t end well: the brush got stuck, forcing me to cut large chunks of my hair away. For a long time, I viewed my black identity as a burden. I didn’t learn Amharic or talk to my family members back in Ethiopia. I continued to cry in pain as my mom did my hair, wishing that she would just let me relax it. It wasn’t until I entered high school that I finally came to terms with my blackness. Freshman year, when we were assigned to write an essay about our culture and how it has shaped us. It was the most natural piece of writing I had done; my pencil glided across the page almost effortlessly as I got to talk about my race and the discrimination I’ve faced. The following year, I had the opportunity to discuss the issues and experiences brought up in my cultural essay at my school’s BSU. Talking about these issues with students who have gone through similar experiences as me helped me appreciate my blackness more. Additionally, the emergence of movements like the natural hair movement and Black Lives Matter, that serve to empower individuals like myself, gave me the confidence to wear and love my natural hair—naps and all. Being unapologetically black and identifying yourself as an activist can raise some eyebrows, but that’s something I’m okay with, as I’ve finally learned to love who I am. I feel empowered when I wear my hair in its natural kinky state. I wear the BSU fist on my shirt with pride. I embarrassingly try to pronounce Amharic words with my family. My mom recently found the brush with the hair that I cut off more than a decade ago. She had stored it in a little plastic Ziploc bag years ago. We picked it up and laughed, remembering the day it happened. I have learned to love my cultural identity and what it means to be a black woman in America. As I continue to pursue my post-secondary education, I hope I can use my degree to give back to those in my community who have gone through the same struggles as I have. Learning to love the skin I’m in has reflected in both my self-confidence and determination, along with my studies. This self-confidence is what I need in order to thrive in the work I do in college and beyond.

Student Info

Ethnicity:

Black or African American

Marital Status:

Single

Citizenship:

Gender:

Veterans:

LGBTQ+ :

U.S. Citizen

First Generation:

Female

Personal Dependents:

No

Family Dependents:

Yes

0

3

n/a

High School GPA:

Graduation Year:

Major GPA:

3.85

SAT/ACT Score:

2022

Open to Mentorship:

3.9

High School Name:

1410

Yes

Mount Rainier High School