Black History Month 2021

As we all know, 2020 was a year of reflection and growth. It was a time to really look inwards and ask ourselves: What am I doing wrong? How can I do better? How have I been part of the problem? The Black Lives Matter Movement really opened my eyes and helped me to grow and learn where I was falling short. This made me really want to do a Photoshoot with some of the black women in my community. I wanted to highlight their beauty, brains and talents. I wanted the focus of this shoot to be around their successes but I also wanted them to talk about what Black History Month meant to them growing up. It was a great way to meet new people within my community and I learned so much by doing this project.

Megan Lewis (24) from Lake Charles, LA

"I am currently employed at First Untied Methodist Preschool. I am a lead teacher where I have the following age: group 9 months- 1 year old which is mobile infants I have been in child care for 4 years now. I just received my CDA (Child Development Associate). One day I hope to to further my education at McNeese State University and major in Early Childhood Education and have a daycare of my own. Working with children has always been my passion because they are the future leaders of the world. Fun facts about me: I love to eat, watch tv, shop and hang out with friends and family. Black history month meant so much to me growing up because I learned so much about my culture such as significant contributions that my ancestors have made to pave the way. I looked up to my mother growing up because she was always and still is there for me."

Acacia Sweet (31) from Lake Charles, La.

"I’m the 2nd oldest out of 5, and all brothers. I attended Grambling S.U for a year than transferred to Sowela for nursing. I met my husband at 19 y.o and married at 21. I started dancing at the age of 3 with Glenda Moss Dance Academy and was on the Dancing Doll team at Washington Marion H.S. I began working in the medical field in 2010 and discovered my passion for people in need of encouragement, along with caring for my grandmother. I’m now pursuing a career in mortuary science to become a mortician, while currently working for SWLA Center for Health Services as a Claims reimbursement specialist. One fun fact about me would be when I’m alone in my own space I sing SO much to where I seriously believe I somewhat sound like Whitney Houston 🤣. Black history month was one of the most important celebrations in my life. Growing up my family would always remind us that being black is being independent, strong minded , courageous, intelligent, and sophisticated! My inspiration growing up was indeed my parents! My dad worked 2-3 jobs for years, minister of music (now pastor), and full time husband and father. My mom was a self made woman who came from nothing and still managed to become her own boss in cosmetology. I’ve never been without nor wanted for anything and I owe who I am to them! They raised my brothers and I to work for what we want and be consistent in our relationship with God!"

Cameron Evans (23)

from Lake Charles, La.

 "I go to SOWELA where I’m currently in the sterile processing course. I have one semester left. When I am finished at SOWELA I plan on enrolling in McNeese. Fun fact about me I have a huge fear of public speaking. Even just speaking on camera to my phone makes me incredibly nervous, especially if I know it’s a video people will see. My biggest accomplishment is that I’m going back to school.

Black history month to me means I get many opportunities to learn more about the history of my own people, to hear traditional music and to attend enriching events. Black History Month provides an opportunity to salute the many accomplishments of African Americans that often go unnoticed. Growing up I looked up to my mom and my grandmothers. They inspired me to never give up."

Leslie Thomas (33) from Lake Charles, La

"I currently work in planning and development and I enjoy speaking with the community and helping them with their needs. I've worked since the age of 15 and have learned a great deal in the art of conducting business. I am currently in pursuit of a business management degree from Lamar University. I'm also embarking on adventures that will expand past my local community, which I so dearly love. I am a lover of the arts. Theatre and writing (poetry, songs, children stories) are my hobbies. In 2018 I performed a commercial skit in front of a live audience in Los Angeles, California with a few hundred others and came home with the first place Gold medal. I have also been a participant of the Living History Cemetery Tour in Calcasieu. I embrace the idea of learning something new everyday. You can never have enough knowledge and you can't out grow it. Fun Fact about me: I enjoy making my friends laugh at my celebrity impersonation of Fran Drescher from the hit tv series "The Nanny". Black history month to me is about the journey of black culture. It's an opening of the eyes and mind of seeing the beauty, progression, and success of African Americans in a bright light that is often dimmed, over looked and forgotten. It's the history, the richness, and the soul of the blood that pumps through my veins. Black history is me in past, present, and future form. I grew up looking up to and being inspired by my mother, aunt, and grandmother. I paid close attention to them as they were my definition of everything a woman should be. Filled with class, beauty, warmth in their hearts, and intelligent. They taught me balance and to be proud of my heritage, but to also embrace and love everyone regardless of race. To see people for who they are in their spirit. My favorite quote that I wrote and live by is to 'Walk in peace, love, and adventure'. That's my slice of the cherry pie in this life."

Jasmine Noell Abel (23)

from Lake Charles, Louisiana

"I am a 2019 Graduate of McNeese State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mass Communication. I am a alumna member of Phi Mu Fraternity (Alpha Upsilon Chapter). I have found an interest in the foster care system and am currently a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer advocating for children in the foster care system. Along with being a CASA volunteer, I am currently a dance teacher at Premiere Dance Center. I am a Louisiana girl through and through from eating gumbo once a week to reppin’ the New Orleans Saints 24/7! (Who Dat🖤T⚜️). My biggest accomplishments so far are:

2013 Lake Charles American Idol, Finalist and 2014 Lake Charles American Idol Winner,

2014 Saint Louis Catholic Homecoming Queen, 

2020 Ms. Jennings Extravaganza Queen, 

I created and designed my own highly functional personal website as a project for a web design class. A Fun fact about me: I’m an Alabama Crimson Tide fan! ROLL TIDEh️i

Black history month to me meant spending an entire month solely focusing on black history. It was the one month out of the year everyone in school learned about black history and got to see all the natural beauty and wonderful things African Americans did to pave the way for African Americans today. To this day I am forever thankful for the millions of lives who suffered in slavery to make a way for me. For the blood, sweat and tears shed so that way people like me can have a better life today. Growing up I looked up to and was inspired by My MawMaw, Linda Marie Bias. She will forever be my inspiration. Growing up she was the Queen of the Kitchen and knew how to touch anyone’s heart with her powerful and soulful voice. I strongly believe God made us look alike because we have so many of the same characteristics. I’m a singer because of her. I love to cook because of her. My strength, drive and willingness to serve comes from her taking care of any and everyone she could help. Even though she is physically gone, her inspiration and spirit lives within me! 

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”

—Booker T. Washington"