Purple Black and White: A Conversation about leadership

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(From left) Terrance Maiden, TCU Class of 2000, Hope Bentley, 2019, Tracy Williams, 2004, and Jaques Williams, 2019, were the four panelists for the Purple Black and White discussion. Photo by Texas Christian University.

The Purple Black and White panel discussion centered on leadership, emphasizing listening to people with similar past experiences.

Now in its second year, the panel discussion was put on by the director of the African-American and Africana studies minor Dr. Claire Sanders, the Black Alumni Alliance and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies.

The panel consisted of two seniors, Hope Bentley and Jaques Williams, and two TCU alumni, Tracy Williams, ’04, and Terrance Maiden, ’00. They discussed their personal leadership experiences and strategies. Afterward, the audience was encouraged to ask questions.

“This is an opportunity outside of class to learn something,” Sanders said. “What any individual student is going to learn depends on that student.”

While the discussion was tailored to an audience of minority students, anyone was welcome to join the conversation.

 “I would suggest that effective leadership strategies are not always specific to any particular group of people,” Sanders said.

Sanders said she began the panel last year to create at least one campus-wide program or event for African American and Africana studies minors during Black History Month that was focused on the African-American experience at TCU.

This year’s conversation focused on how being a minority impacts one’s leadership ability and strategy. Maiden said that minorities have to work harder and overcome false stereotypes, while simultaneously striving to create social justice for those who are facing discrimination. 

Williams also weighed in on the importance of service in leadership.

“If serving is below you, then leadership is beyond you,” she said.

She said that it is easy to notice a problem, but respected leaders are also able to offer a solution.

Sanders said she believes that, as a historian, it is crucial to look at the past and talk with people that have been in one’s position before. She offered a similar sentiment to end the evening.

“Be ready when your time comes to pay it forward,” Sanders said.

The TCU social media accounts will feature each of the panelists throughout Black History Month.