Portraits of the Unafraid: Rika

How do you define yourself? How would you describe yourself?
I identify as a student, a sister, a daughter, a poet, a survivor or transient homelessness. Racially, I’m extremely mixed, but I identify as African-American. And I’m a girl. I’m basic sometimes, but I’m definitely an intelligent individual. A huge part of my identity also is that I’m a big disciple of Jesus Christ. I treat him as homie, but he’s a big, big part of everything that I identify with.

What is one dream you have that scares you and why?
I have many dreams, but the one that scares me the most…. more than anything I want to give my mom something that she wasn’t ever able to give her mom or us. My dream that scares me is my mom’s dream: its to, when she’s older have a house big enough to fit all of us into, particularly my grandmothers.  It terrifies me because it not only involves maintaining relationships with family, which has been up and down over the years, but it also requires social mobility and economic mobility. A large part of it comes from my experience here and in the ten years of my life before I got to college. I struggle with that dream because in order to have that I feel like I have to choose between having the economic means and being able to maintain meaningful relationships, because the amount of money that its going to take to buy a house that will fit my family is no small amount of a salary and it includes being detached from a geographic location. I’m trying to find a way to have that dream. To have that house and to also be able to walk down the street to the corner store and pay 75 cents for a hot dog. I’m trying to find a way for that dream to come true.
What do you think of when your hear the word “unafraid”?
I think of the moment of confrontation and the struggle of it, kind of like how fear and being afraid or unafraid always ingrained in me when I was little was the moment when Abram is fighting with the angel. Its like this accept that this angel is massive, strong, extremely beautiful and ugly to humans at the same time. Its believing in something so strongly that you’re willing to fight with a supernatural power for it. That’s a different kind of confronting fear. It’s the process of actually struggling for it and bearing the spiritual, physical, and emotional consequences of the struggle and being unafraid and confronting fear. That’s terrifying. That’s what I think of.

RIka is a sophomore at Williams College. She is a part of a large family whom she loves and adores, and is well-known for her sass and bursts of laughter. She dreams of living life Unafraid.

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