Tuesday, June 3, 2014
By Mariah Hill and Candace Chambers
Deontez Wimbley is a one of a kind young man. Self-described as a Black, queer, Marxian, feminist, Deontez is a rising senior at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellow, studying sociology.
In 10 years, he hopes to become a tenured track professor conducting research in sociology at a minority-serving institution. He wants to have an impact on others due to his life experiences, including being raised by a single mother, growing up without a father, and experiencing marginalized sexual orientation. His messages to those with similar experiences are God loves you, too, you are somebody, and yes you can.
Not only has Deontez been motivated by his experiences but also by African American literature. One of his leading inspirations is author E. Lynn Harris, whose concentration focuses on self-identity. He is encouraged by the achievements of this bold black writer and the truisms, which also mirrors Deontez’ life.
When asked to compare himself to an animal, Deontez found he relates most to the chameleon. They are creatures that are able to blend in and adapt well in their environment. Holistically, Deontez’s academic background, personal experiences and accomplishments display his character’s versatility and adaptability.
If Deontez could deliver a national message he would say, “This world is not just about you,” hoping individuals of all gender, race and religion can unify for a greater purpose. Deontez’s purpose is to change the negative circumstances of those who share common experiences and positively impact the social perception.
“Not only can you Be, you can Do,” he says.
• AALCI 2014