Current track



TSU COMM Week empowers students to amplify their voices

Written by on April 27, 2024

By Amber Land

Numerous campus leaders and media professionals took to the podium to urge Texas Southern University students to amplify their voices during the 2024 Communication Week conference.

TSU interim president Dr. Mary Evans Sias spoke on her upbringing in segregated Jackson, Mississippi. She said stories of racial inequities were rarely published or aired on major platforms during her era. Sias stressed the importance of storytelling rooted in one’s background to offer a valuable perspective.

“Don’t let someone else tell your story,” Sias said, her eyes sweeping across the room filled with black and brown faces. “They will never do as good a job as you can.”

She further highlighted the power of amplifying marginalized voices to foster change.

“It’s time for many of our diverse voices to get louder,” Sias said. “That diversity provides a platform for different perspectives and that’s what we want.”

Following Sias, Dr. Katherine McElroy, a retired New York Times journalist and current professor at the University of Texas, took the stage.

McElroy comes from a lineage of journalists. Her late father, George McElroy, was known throughout Houston as the ‘Dean of Black Journalism.’ Drawing from his heritage, McElroy spoke about ways media students could help positively change the narratives.

“We want people to listen to our stories that don’t fit the cliches and tropes that other people want us to be under,” McElroy said. “It’s not enough that we want our stories to be told.”

McElroy said what is important is to create a compelling narrative that will force others to listen. Her words filled the notes of several media students in attendance.

The theme of this year’s Comm Week, “Amplifying diverse voices in media communications,” emphasized the significance of sharing untold narratives.

Through sharing their experiences, McElroy and Sais left students with a powerful message: every storyteller possesses the agency to make a difference.

Quoting an old African proverb, Sias reiterated, “As long as the hunter tells the story, the fox is in trouble.”

“The media—your voices will foster change. You will do that,” Sias said.