ACC talks Black History Month: Michelle Washington

Throughout Black History Month, Austin Community College District (ACC) asks influential and accomplished faculty, staff, and students to discuss what Black History Month means to them.

Michelle WashingtonMichelle Washington is an instructional coordinator at the ACC Fashion Incubator. She has been with the college for two years.

Why do you work at ACC?

I'm excited to be a part of innovation and change. ACC promotes student success and community development.

Why do you believe it's important for the college to commemorate Black History Month?

It is essential to recognize Black History Month. We often remember Black struggle and the injustices, but the narratives of Black people are dynamic and only focusing on the strife is a disservice. As we remember the challenges of those who came before us, we should also celebrate our achievements. Through the celebration of Black History Month, we ensure that our history and culture are preserved. We stand on the shoulders of the giants that paved the way. Not only do we honor by remembering, but we also honor by celebrating those who continue to be a living legacy.

What are some personal or professional accomplishments you are most proud of?

I'm proud to be a part of the ACC Fashion Incubator — fashion innovation in the heart of Austin. We provide a unique real-to-industry high-tech experience for students and local fashion design startups that is highly inclusive, collaborative, and supportive.

What's the best lesson you've learned?

Life is all about the journey and less about the destination. Allow yourself to be present in everything you do. Allow yourself to enjoy each second of your life – to observe the world around you, the people present in your life, and the beauty that is present within and all around you.

Why do you feel it is important to seek out and value diverse perspectives?

Diverse perspectives are necessary in order to foster a societal culture of tolerance, respect, and understanding. Being exposed to a broad variety of viewpoints, rather than absorbing one-sided narratives, establishes unity.

How do you build bridges between communities?

An important step for the goals of academia (and the community we serve) is to come together with a common purpose and vision for what we want to achieve collectively. As an instructional coordinator, I reach out to community youth organizations to discuss the actions and solutions needed to help create better education opportunities.

What inspires you?

According to Merriam-Webster, inspiration is something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create. Nevertheless, I believe that there is much more to this word than what the dictionary states. Inspiration is something that motivates you to be better and do better. My inspiration can be found in perseverance -- even when we lose, we win. Every challenge along the way can fortify the tenacity to keep striving.