Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa, 92.9 WTUG, Praise 93.3, 105.1 The Block, and the Tuscaloosa Thread are proud to present the 2022 Black History Makers of Alabama supported by Sealy Furniture Outlet, Twelve25 Sports Bar & Entertainment Venue, and Red Oak Credit Union.

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The Yellowhammer State is filled with great African American leaders from the past, present, and future. We thank our West Alabama community partners, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Delta Phi Lambda Chapter, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Eta Xi Omega Chapter for their continued support.

Tionna Taite is a Black History Maker of Alabama

Black history is my roots. Black history runs deeper than what they teach students in textbooks. Black history is ever-changing and always growing. Honestly, I’m truly blessed to be a part of Black history. I will continue to advocate for racial justice, elevate Black voices, & create new opportunities for future Black generations just like my ancestors did for me. -Tionna Taite

 

Tionna Taite is a senior majoring in News Media on a Pre-Law track at the University of Alabama.  Although only spending 3 years in college, Tionna has made a lasting change at the university and in the surrounding community.

In July 2020, Tionna established the University of Alabama’s first Black student-led magazine entitled Nineteen Fifty-Six. Nineteen Fifty-Six shines a light on black culture, black excellence, and black student experiences. As the founding editor in chief, she has led a team of 60 talented students ranging from undergraduate to doctoral students. This magazine benefits people of all backgrounds because it educates students on cultural topics and helps produce socially-conscious, ethical, and well-rounded students. In less than a year, Nineteen Fifty-Six garnered 23,884 total digital magazine views and over $30,000 in donations from the Division of Student Life, Alabama MASTHEAD, and alumni.

 

Tionna designated ‘Nineteen Fifty-Six’ as the title because it is the historic year that the first Black student, Autherine Lucy, officially enrolled at the University of Alabama.

 

Tionna also serves as Miss Black Alabama USA 2022. Her social initiative is “Diversifying Digital Media & Elevating Marginalized Voices.” She aspires to prove that diversifying digital media benefits people of all backgrounds because it provides education on cultural topics and helps produce socially-conscious, ethical, and well-rounded citizens. Her social initiative will focus on three areas: Colleges, High Schools, and Mainstream Media. During her reign, she will serve as a spokesperson for her generation by researching, preparing, and delivering public appearance presentations, performances, and speeches pertaining to voting, human rights, mental health, and many other topics.

 

As the President of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Tionna hosts events to guide students and help them achieve their leadership goals, career aspirations, and personal ambitions. At the University of Alabama, she serves as an activist by being a speaker at campus events including the Black Voices Rise panel, Discerning Diverse Voices Symposium, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Recruitment Event. As the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair of the Alabama Forensic Council, she educates people about topics in society that disproportionately affect marginalized groups. This experience has allowed her to write and deliver numerous speeches that educate college students on critical topics pertaining to racial inequity.

In December 2021, Tionna spoke at the Rosa Parks Day Commemoration Services. She performed an original spoken word entitled “Don’t Touch My Hair.” She wrote this piece to serve as a tribute to the cultural significance and history of Afrocentric hairstyles with the goal of educating the audience. This event gave her the opportunity to speak with prominent civil rights activist Attorney Fred Gray.

 

Tionna also provides educational resources and insight into her college experiences on her blog Becoming Black Excellence. Becoming Black Excellence is listed among the top Black millennial blogs and websites in 2022. Becoming Black Excellence has reached over 34 countries and 41 states in America.

 

 

In the past year, Tionna wrote an in-depth article about how residential segregation still impacts Montgomery Public Schools. This article examined present-day segregation in Montgomery and its direct effect on students. She conducted a thorough reporting process that began in June 2020. Her story was published in the spring 2021 edition of Nineteen Fifty-Six magazine which reached over 3,221 readers.

 

At the Alabama Scholastic Press Association 2021 State Convention, Tionna delivered a presentation on increasing diversity in media. She proved that diversifying digital media and elevating marginalized voices benefits people of all backgrounds because it provides education on cultural topics and helps produce socially-conscious, ethical, and well-rounded citizens.

Tionna’s advocacy on campus led her to be selected as the 2021 Premier Awards recipient for the William P. and Estan J. Bloom Award. This is the University of Alabama’s highest honor. Improving understanding and collaboration among diverse individuals and groups was one of the criteria for this award.

The disproportionate amount of minority students who are unable to easily pursue their educational goals motivates Tionna to pursue the study of law. She will not only strive to be a civil rights attorney, but she will also strive to increase educational opportunities for underprivileged and minority students. This is extremely important to her because many minority students have talents and aspirations that are often vacated because they do not have access to the basic educational resources they need. As an undergraduate student, she has already begun taking the steps to expand the opportunities available to marginalized communities. As a Black female attorney, she plans to utilize her experience to challenge the laws that create educational barriers for minority students. In addition, she plans to challenge the systems that allow racial inequities to persist in education, housing, and the justice system.

This month Tionna was honored with three inaugural awards by the Black Faculty & Staff Association at the University of Alabama. She was selected as the recipient for the Eminent Student Leader, Eminent Student Advocate, and Eminent Student Change Agent. She was selected on the basis of consistently displaying Black eminence and leadership at the university and in surrounding communities.

Tionna’s additional awards and honors include Miss University of Alabama Spirit of Alabama Award for Leadership & Community Service, Susan Colvin Prize, River Region Volunteer of the Year, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Academic Hall of Fame Award,  Alabama District Exchange Clubs Youth of the Year, and Alabama District Exchange Clubs Female Youth Orator of the Year.

She will graduate a year early in May 2022 and start law school in the Fall.

 

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