Ta’Nia Hawkins
Category: 2020 College Winner

Ta’Nia Hawkins

University of Mississippi

Matthew Jacobson once said, “behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.” Not every child is fortunate enough to say that they have parents or a parent that supports them no matter what. I on the other hand, have always had parents who believed in me no matter what. They have made many sacrifices for not only me, but my siblings as well. Having two parents in the house as a black child isn’t always imaginable, but I am inspired by their strength and perseverance to raise us as intelligent, loving, and hardworking members of society. I know this essay is supposed to be about one individual, but I can not simply give credit to just one parent.

My parents have always been an inspiration to me. Growing up as a child, my mom owned a daycare and her passion and love for children encouraged me to pursue a career working with children in the future as a pediatric dentist. She was so loved by each child in her daycare, that even now her former students still call her and check on her. The connections she made with children and parents from all different back grounds shows the devotion she had to each child that walked through her doors. My dad is also a big part of who I am today. My dad started off as a local police officer in our town working night shifts. He is now the Chief of Police at the University of Mississippi. All because he chose to never give up, he is now able to support his family and ensure that his children understand the importance of hard work and building a name for themselves. If I ever need advice on anything in my life, I call my dad because he will never judge what I have to say. He always finds a way to hear what I have to say and give me encouraging words to help me through my situations.

As I mentioned before, it is not every day that you have two BLACK parents in the same household. And I am proud to say that I have two parents who love, protect, support, and inspire me daily. They are my backbone and I know that they are proud of me because I am proud to belong to them. To be young, gifted, and black a story written by Lorraine Hansberry and sang by Nina Simone. A story of hope and inspiration. A story of sorrow and loss. A story of finding your way as a black woman when you have no guidance. I am thankful for having parents who have supported and guided.