When Rishell Chambers was a ballet student at the Baltimore School for the Arts high school, she was in search of a college that had excellent programs in both women’s studies and dance.
“I was getting very interested in social justice but also wanted dance in my life,” says Chambers.
These days, she fits in studio time when she can but spends many more hours answering her true calling: fighting for equality and inclusion for all people.
Chambers’ major in women’s and gender studies, with a minor in African American studies, provides an intersectional foundation for this work.
“The classes I’m taking give me the information to understand the sexism, racism and elitism that so consume our lives,” says Chambers. “And that gives me the tools to combat them.”
As director of diversity outreach for the Towson University Student Government Association (SGA), Chambers puts theory into practice.
She is one of the leaders of the #NotAtTU campaign, which seeks to create an inclusive, anti-racist and hate free campus climate through awareness-building events and conversations. Additionally, Chambers and other #NotAtTU representatives are working with university officials to publicize and improve Towson University’s hate/bias incident reporting process.
Chambers says she also plays an important internal role in the student-led organization.
“I am a barometer for SGA to make sure that we’re operating in a way that’s not oppressive to minority students, to make sure students within SGA are serving all students.”
With plans to pursue human rights law, Chambers’ activism on campus is surely just the start of a life standing up (and dancing) for what is right.