What is it like to be a Black girl at a predominantly white institution? CSG senior Olivia Clarke '21 set out to explore that question from her own perspective and to share others' perspectives in her new book.
At the age of 16, Olivia Clarke is an author and a leader in her community.
The teen attends Columbus School for Girls and started diversity work when she was a sophomore. She attended diversity conferences and soon after became a leader at school.
She quickly realized she wanted to share her experiences attending a predominantly white institution as a Black girl. She began writing about it.
“I started this right before COVID hit. So, everything was really chaotic at the time. I wanted to help them in the way I wasn’t necessarily helped. One of the things difficult is when you’re a minority at a PWI [predominantly white institution] is there isn’t many of you, so you do feel alone,” said Clarke.
Clarke started to express herself on paper and she also reached out to peers and former students to share their stories. She titled the book “Black Girl White School: Surviving and Thriving and No, You Can’t Touch my Hair.” and hoped the text would provide support and guidance for young Black women. She also hopes institutions, administrators and educators read the book to ignite a broader conversation.
“It’s an important conversation to have and people may be more receptive to it right now,” said Clarke. “Also think what are the repercussions of systemic racism and discrimination in schools and how that affects black and brown students.”
“I want to raise up black voices especially Black female voices that aren’t necessarily heard, because
we’re young. I want this to be a book that ignites conversations more than anything.”
In addition to her book she is releasing two journals. One is filled with affirmations and prompts and the other is an ally journal, a place to write and reflect. You can order the book now on Amazon and it will be released Saturday, August 29.