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What Black History Month Means to Me

3 student atheletes share a moment

A Celebration of Culture & Heritage

We talk to Alayna, Simone, and Dante, three University of Arizona student-athletes who encourage us to honor Black culture and its contributions every day.

Meet: Alayna Johnson
Sport: Volleyball
Major: General Studies, College of Humanities

Meet: Simone Overbeck
Sport: Volleyball
Major: Criminal Justice, Psychology Minor, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences

Meet: Dante Smith
Sport : Football
Major: Finance, Eller College of Management

Motivations & Affirmations

Who inspires you?

Alayna : My Mom. She's really supportive, and she's always pushing me to do what I want to do. And if I'm confused, she's always there to help me.

Simone : My Stepdad. He would encourage me every single day to try to make somebody's life a little bit better that day. I tell people all the time it's still my goal to make one person's day better every single day.

Do you have words you live by?

Dante : "I'm worthy." That's it. That's all I need to know. Because once you believe it, everyone else will.

Sports & the Game of Life

What do you love about the sport you play?

Dante : The game's a lot like life. You have to count on other people, not just yourself.

Alayna : I like the competitiveness of volleyball and how you have to work with other people and it's not just all about you. And I love when I get to hit the ball and it slams on the floor, that's, like, so satisfying to me.

What did you learn from your sports injury?

Simone : It's allowed me to understand that there is life outside of volleyball, and that's super important. I am still getting a great education, and it's all being paid for even if it took a little bit of surgery and a little bit of pain.

Gratitude, Learning, Excellence

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Simone : Honestly, I think it's more about appreciating the culture and being thankful for where you've come from. Appreciation for everyone that has been through all the struggles that they've been through over the past few centuries.

Alayna : The fact that America has come this far to be able to have a full month to just dedicate to learning about Black history. It's not just one month; it should be all the time that we know this.

Dante : Black excellence. The past 400 years, Black people began to rise and learn new and different things. It’s not just a trend. I encourage everyone once a week to find something new about Black history.

Celebrations honoring Black and African-American culture and contributions reverberate throughout campus every February, and it's exhilarating! But as Alayna, Simone, and Dante make clear, our appreciation need not be bound by the calendar. Explore the resources and programs Black students can find on campus every day.

Black History Month Events


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