Brave your fear.

#23 Arkeema Chandler – Young, Black and Plus Size

Jul 04, 2018

Arkeema Chandler.
June 2018.
Mott Hall Bridges Academy, Legacy Room.
I am strong.
I am plus size.
I am empowerment.
BE the challenger.

Badass Quotes:
> “Staying home wasn’t my way of coping.”
> “I wasn’t me feeling better, it was me getting somewhere where I needed to be better.”
> “You have this foundation, so why not use it to be a better person.”
> “I feel it was my calling to go to that school.”
> “It was my way of getting out all of the anger and pain that was possibly in me.”
> “I feel like once you have a lot of anger built in you, you get strength that’s from nowhere."
> “It was me showing everyone, I’m hurting.”
> “I can’t replace your parents, but I’m here as a parent figure in your life.” (23:15)
> “I’m a social person but, I feel like, the word friends should be used in a certain way. So, I have many associates.”
> “If you aren’t proud and confident in yourself you can’t really do anything, because then that’s your way of telling everyone they can run over you and take control of you.”
> There are always going to be times when you want to give up. I want to be happy with myself – I am happy with myself.

Podcast Intro:
Arkeema Chandler is an 18-year-old powerhouse who has many stories to tell. She lost her father when she was 7 years old to AIDS and her mother at the age of 12 to sickle-sell related lung disease. With an incredible extended family, including her Grandmother Birdie her uncle and her younger and older sisters, she fought her way out of grief. Thanks to amazing teachers and school leaders, she found a way to express her anger and own her passion: building a supportive community for young, black, pluz size teenagers, like her. She is no regular kid. She is a young woman rising and a person packed with knowing. Keema is honest, smart and ready for her next big step: College.

Biggest Takeaways:
 How Keema absorbed the pain
> Importance of grief counseling, the Legacy Room
> Keema’s advice to people who experience loss
> Why she starting fighting people
> When she started to smile again
> How she handled a judgmental counselor
> Keema’s “levels of friendship”
> How to generate confidence as a teenager
> Favorite places to shop for plus size teenage fashion
>  Who she is rooting for

Major Conversation Highlights:
 Why she feels like it’s her fault that her parents passed away
> How her Uncle gave her a reason to keep going
> Birdie - the amazing matriarch of her family (grandmother)
> What is Keema’s motivation to not give up
> The great teachers at Mott Hall Bridges Academy (Brownsville)
> Keema’s top distractions
> Favorite thing about being young
>  Keema’s passion for promoting confidence for plus size teens
> What advice does she give herself when things get hard

Social Media:

Science & More Info:

> Mott Hall Bridges Academy

> Instagram

> Facebook 

Iona College
Education Major

Additional Links:
Keema’s Blog
Nadia Lopez – Principal, Mott Hall Bridges Academy


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