Be the Change

UEI College is committed to supporting racial equality.

We stand in solidarity with the African American community for social justice. 

Serita J.

Anaheim Campus Finalist

Sitting on a bench, across two very busy streets day in and day out while being dressed in layers upon layers of clothing wondering why me (after witnessing holidays plus the shuffle of people) for way over 4.5 years alone, lonely!  The weather was ever-changing in Southern California, where the days were boiling hot 80+degrees and the nights were where the layers of clothing come in.  The hours of 1 am until about 4 am, so bitter cold beyond freezing; if you can imagine feeling the wind whipping right through your blankets, 5 jackets-sweaters or coats, 10 layers of clothing, into the crackling insides of your bones for well over 3 hours straight.  The feeling is so unimaginable even when you are used to -0 below and snow up to your eyeballs, nothing will ever come close and hopefully never will!  This place is foreign but you have tried your damnedest to make it your home away from home.  Try finding yourself at odds with the only people whom you have breath left to live, have totally lost all respect and love for you.  The very same two people whom you birthed into this world and vowed under God’s laws (not to mention, human laws) to do whatever is necessary to take good care of them.  You failed them, you failed yourself, realizing that when in a courtroom facing a European judge (on the board of the University my daughter went to) who refuses to look at you in the eyes but deems you not able to legally take care of one of those people whom you lived for! Understanding that being a single parent with no apparent help (no immediate family or otherwise, baby daddies) were there to help these two individuals get everything in life that is promised because hey, they didn’t ask to be here!  Trying to go back in time and remember what it was like when you were growing up in a house with both parents and many siblings and friends.  Then blocking out what really happened behind closed doors and never having a voice while suffering from the toxic abusiveness of two people that brought you into this world.  A vicious cycle that unfortunately haunts you like a bad nightmare you can’t wake up from. Not to mention, the surroundings you find yourself in are full of people of all shapes, sizes, colors, races, you name it melting pot you seem to always stick out like a sore thumb.  When you are so different that people not only treat you a certain type of way because of the obvious, your skin color or malignant in your skin, but they also notice that you exuberate a sort of different type of educated intelligence; bringing out the dirty nasty, corrupt mannerisms that can keep anyone down and out not able to jump back up, brush off and try it again.  Just imagine sitting with a group of people talking, laughing, and having a good time; when you get up to excuse yourself walking past everyone and one by one all of them stick their foot out in the aisle and watch as you go a stumbling-fumbling down on your face (laughing as loud and hard as they can at you).  You fall so hard with obvious bruises but no one offers to help you up or to offer their apologies.  You become a part of not one but four different churches to find some peace and humanly comfort but all they could think about is spiritual-political. Having people plotting to steal from you every chance they get and dare you to go out to a store to purchase brand new clothing because you were hired to work.  They would tell you to your face European males mostly, that you cannot go out and purchase new clothes or you are not deemed fit because you are homeless to look and feel like a human being.   Or try getting some sleep on a public bus after not being able to get much sleep on a bench in the cold to have the drivers treat you like you were an animal and you belonged in a zoo.  The stories, examples, the journey as painful as it may be to you on paper, try living it day in and day out, with these just touching the tip of the iceberg.

The irony of all of this is that I am somebody. I love myself. I have a much stronger relationship with my God than I ever have in my life (as I was born and raised in the church), as the faithful Christian I am, I am in love and he happens to be European while I am African American and I am strong because of my God.  My children are grown and living their lives as adults (one has graduated with three Bachelor degrees from Chapman University and the other an Associates in Criminal Justice aiming to be a cop) after growing up homeless over 20 years.  I live now in a 200-bed government facility and attending three different schools (medical assistant, insurance agent-AIL, and real estate agent-Keller) and I attend a Hollywood studio (via zoom right now) to become an actor.  No matter how long I have been chronically homeless, raising children homeless, and living in this 200-bed shelter, I AM SOMEBODY and I LOVE MYSELF.  With all that said and done, once my credit is improved I will never have to experience being homeless ever again (as I am working hard to achieve) and will continue to give back to my community of individuals who have never made me or my children feel good or warm and fuzzy but here I am always volunteering in my community to helping others out in their time of need.

We Are

Getting a Second

Chance

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