The 5% Project (It Really Be Ya Own People!)

Students at the #TheFourPercent townhall in 2015

By La’Kayla Celeste. Republished with permission of the author.

I don’t make a habit of reading The Daily Texan, one of the nation’s largest college newspapers and source of great pride at the University of Texas at Austin. I don’t pick up the paper because of the residual bad taste in my mouth from several casually racist encounters I’ve had with the Texan over the 4 years of my undergraduate education. Now, as a second-year graduate student at the University completing a Masters Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies, my main concern is meeting my deadlines. This was the business I was minding when I happened across Volume 118, Issue 131 of the publication while on campus one morning a few weeks ago. It was the image that struck me: a close-up of Daniel Nkoola, Black creative and undergraduate student in Radio-Television-Film, the major I earned one of my bachelor’s degrees in. I picked up the paper, excited to read when something else in the top, right hand corner caught my eye. A graphic proclaimed that this story was the 6th installment in ‘The 5% Project,” a collaboration between The Daily Texan and UT’s chapter of the National Association of Black Journalist. I stared at the notation for a few minutes before snapping a picture on my phone, leaving the paper where I found it.

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