Robyn Cunningham
Category: 2022 High School Winner

Robyn Cunningham

I was in third grade when I heard the news on the Steve Harvey morning radio show. A seventeen-year-old by the name of Trayvon Martin had been killed for walking home as a black male wearing a hoodie. I still remember the feeling of the goosebumps arising on my skin. My mother proceeded to give my brother and me “the talk” after hearing the disturbing news in the parking lot of my predominately white elementary school. The conversation that black parents despise having yet recognized the significance of because of our country’s past and unfortunate present.

A statement my mom made in the “the talk” that stood out to me. She stated that “even though I could be the brightest person in any setting, the first thing someone’s ever going to see first is my skin color”. I was eight years old, sitting in my mother’s silver 4Runner, having to comprehend I would be defined not for whom I am, but who I appear as. Later that year, I came to realize what my passion was. It was my third-grade career day. The last parent to present was a trial attorney. The way she explained her career, resonated with me. I was thinking about Trayvon Martin the entire time. Unfortunately, Trayvon Martin and his family didn’t receive justice but I couldn’t help wondering if I could have changed that.

Trayvon Martin’s death sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter is a social movement that aims to raise awareness about the racism in America, prejudice, and injustice that black people face. I am happily an active member of the Black Lives Matter movement. In high school, I served as the president of the Black Student Union. Every day, the oppression that black Americans like me endure hurts me. Despite the fact that Trayvon Martin was not given justice, he inspired an eight-year-old girl to speak up and fight for what’s right.

One thing I have looked forward to since I was eight years old is attending a Historical Black College or University. It was a desire to no longer be ostracized, but to be accepted and feel safe in my learning environment. At eight years old I didn’t know the cost of tuition. I currently attend Georgia Southern University, a predominantly white institution. The desire to no longer be ostracized remains a desire. As I finish my first year of college, I’ve decided to transfer to Clark Atlanta University. I aspire to be the face of change in America. Now at eighteen years old, I am proud to say I have fallen in love with law. With everything going on in the world America needs more black leaders with a voice to help turn this world around. I can’t wait to take on the perplexing challenge called America. I know this won’t be easy but I am living as a black female in America, it’s easy for me to say I’m ready for the challenge!