The Center for Social Justice and Inclusion Director Shareia Carter is an advocate. She’s worked for First Step Domestic and Sexual Violence Services prior coming to UM-Dearborn 15 years ago. And, while on campus, Shareia led the Women’s Resource Center until 2019 when she transitioned into directing the newly formed Center for Social Justice and Inclusion director.
“Our mission is to help people be their best – whatever that looks like. We want to connect students with faculty, staff and community members so they can reach the fullest potential of their goals and dreams,” she said. “We all know that life has its challenges. Our students need to be supported and know that they always have someone here for them.”
Outside of work, she continues to look for ways to advocate and educate. She’s volunteered with organizations like the Michigan American Council on Education Women of Color Collaborative, the Wayne County Counsel Against Family Violence, the National Women’s Studies Association, the National Organization for Women and the American Association of University Women. And Shareia and daughter Peyton, 12, travel the world to broaden their horizons.
Shareia — who serves as a committee co-chair for the campus’ MLK Day of Service — recently discussed what a new year means to her, her travels, and campus’ upcoming MLK Day of Service.
Her life changed on MLK Day 2009.
“I remember how exciting 2009 was. My daughter Peyton was due on Feb. 2. President Barack Obama's inauguration was Jan. 20. But I think Peyton wanted to be here for it — she made her entrance Jan. 19, which was MLK Day. And then we watched President Obama’s inauguration in the hospital. Later I took a trip to Washington D.C. with Peyton and we toured the White House when President Obama was in office. She was too little to remember that — but Mommy remembers. Family and history is so important to me. That year was monumental for our nation and for me on a personal level.”
Traveling is important because it gives you new perspectives.
“I haven’t traveled much for nearly two years because of COVID concerns. And I miss it. The point of traveling isn’t just to get away, it’s about exposure to a different place, people, language, food… everything.
Now that I am a parent, I want my daughter to be fearless when it comes to traveling and be welcoming when it comes to new experiences. Together we’ve traveled to several U.S. states, as well Spain, Italy, France, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. I love seeing the world through her eyes — and she’s 12, so we’ve got good experiences under our belts and time to make more memories before she’s grown.”
One of her first travel experiences involved seeing The Lorraine Motel.
“In my younger years, I went on a tour of historically Black colleges and universities in the South. It was organized by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Inkster Alumnae Chapter, a National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority founded at Howard University. It wasn’t just going to the respective campuses, it also included important historic sites. One of the places we visited was Lorraine Motel, which is where Dr. King, Jr. was assassinated. It was surreal to be where his life was taken and be standing in history. As a younger person, I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of the moment. But I still carry that memory with me and, as an adult, really appreciate that I had the opportunity to travel there as a younger student.”
As a new year begins, remember to be kind to yourself.
“I’m not putting a whole lot of expectations out there for 2022. I just want my family to be healthy. I’ll be grateful for the small wins. It's rough out there, so whatever happens it’s important to be kind to yourself. Even if you make a mistake, remember that we all live and learn.
For MLK Day of Service this year, we chose Dr. King’s quote, ‘Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.’ It really stood out after the last couple years we had. Rolling into 2022, we are all clinging to hope. I think people continue to be so invested in campus’ MLK Day of Service because it lights something within you. It’s more than doing good — it’s carrying on the legacy of Dr. King and his work for justice for peace. I see the day as the light for the torch for us to carry into the rest of the year’s 11 months. And light is something we all could use more of in our lives.”