Danielle was born in Boston but spent a few years of her life in Haiti. When she came back to the states she was immediately aware of the racial tensions that were present in her school community. As she was so young, she felt powerless at first and unable to address them. Being a black woman, these racial tensions only grew more prominent for Danielle as she got older. Although she was certainly not alone in her experiences, she doubted her abilities to make change in her school environment.
After realizing she was part of the LGBTQ+ community in middle school, Danielle quickly understood the interconnectedness of racism and homophobia. She knew that bigotry could end with empathy and understanding. Throughout her high school years, she has gained more confidence having uncomfortable but necessary conversations surrounding race, gender and sexuality, and class disparities in her english classes. She began having these conversations whenever she could, making her peers question their thought processes and implicit biases.
Her strong background in community service has led Danielle to appreciate people from all walks of life. The summer before her senior year, she volunteered at a clinic in Cap-Haitian, Haiti. This experience further fueled Danielle’s commitment to philanthropy as she recognized the importance of listening to others and wanting to better their situations from a place of benevolence rather than pity.
Danielle believes public service begins with compassion, and compassion can be taught through learning about the struggles of others as well as sharing her personal experiences. Danielle applied for the Ward fellowship because she believed it would give her a chance to better understand the process of helping others through creating progressive policies. She hopes to never stop learning how to make people feel safe and welcome. She wishes that future generations will understand the importance of unity and inclusivity.
Danielle’s sponsor is Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell ’00.