Shadell Bromellhas made it her business to be on the front lines and fight for her people during the recent Black LivesMatter protests in Tallahassee. She’s also been taking a stand on behalf Oluwatoyin“Toyiin” Salau, a 19-year-old Tallahassee activist who was a victim of sexual assault and murder.
Bromell is no stranger to public speaking and advocating for what she believes in. A senior journalism major at Florida A&M, she has been heavily influenced by her dad and grandfather who are both pastors. Growing up, Bromell emphasizes how her father, Ralph Bromell, would always make sure that she knew how beautiful she was and how important it was to walk with her head held high. Bromell’s first experiencedracismat the tender age of 5, when young girls decided they didn’t want to play with her because her hair was “short” but her father has always reassured her that her hair is her crown.
“Shadell’s hair is her crown. It’s so curly and kinky that it grows up instead of down.” Bromell’s father said.
Coming to FAMU, Bromell felt that it was her duty as a Black woman to become active and to speak out about the injustices of not Black people — and Black women specifically.
Protests and movements are not only in the streets but on the internet as well, where they are just as aggressive. Bromell believes that social media and its accessibility has given white people a second hand look at the harsh realities Black people endure daily.
“Racism isn’t worse now than ever. It’s just getting filmed and uploaded for the whole world to see,” Bromell said.
Participating in these recent protests, Bromell watched Salau, a well known activist in Tallahassee, fight for the lives of Black men and all of the injustices they have undergone. After being assaulted and later killed, allegedly by a Black man, Bromell felt that it was so surreal but proved her point of how much Black women need to be protected. The dismissal and disregard of Black women’s feelings is unjust and dishonest, she said.
Honoring Salau is important for Bromell, and even though she won’t be able to attend all vigils and marches for her, she will make sure that she is honored and her name lives on.
“I wasn’t physically and emotionally able to make every vigil and walk. I’m going to use my platform as a journalist to honor her with my upcoming article.” Bromell said.
Being a woman of substance, standing up for what’s right and having a voice for the mute is extremely important to Bromell. It manifests itself in her everyday behavior and character.
“Shadell has always had a stand-up attitude and has a strong head on her shoulders. She’s always been like that.” said Bromell’s best friend, Heaven Jones.
Bromell plans to continue her fight against the unfair treatment of Black men and women across the world, walking with her head held high.