In the Face of Adversity, Remember Why You Started

By: Autumn Fortenberry

Dr. Desiree Stepteau-Watson, Ph.D., LCSW, spoke on campus recently in an event hosted by RASA and the BSU at which she discussed the process of healing intergenerational trauma in African American families. The complex issue of multigenerational trauma, which can lead to various mental health issues, anger, and violence, is often not acknowledged in regard to its impact on African American families. In her presentation, Dr. Stepteau-Watson described ways in which we can aid in healing and reversing this form of trauma. She emphasized that we must work to interrupt generational patterns if we intend to see this chain of multigenerational trauma come to an end. 

“Be persistent. Be brave. We may be standing alone, but we’re standing in truth.”

-Dr. Desiree Stepteau-Watson


This statement by Dr. Stepteau-Watson stood out and prompted me to ask myself what I stand for and what motivates me each day. I often find myself caught up in the mediocrity of life and my daily routine. When this process becomes exhausting, I try to take a step back and remind myself of the passions that are driving me to pursue an education.  Dr. Stepteau-Watson encouraged listeners to live intentionally if they hope to see a change.


When you feel as if you are fighting for a lost cause and a sense of hopelessness overwhelms you, I encourage you to take a step back and remind yourself of why you started. If you are fighting for racial justice, remember those before you who suffered and made sacrifices, and work to honor their contributions. When simply working to overcome the monotony and stress of college, try to identify your sources of motivation and hold them close.