BY: ZSHEKINAH COLLIER
Activist. Artist. Organizer. Leader. Alyssa Moncure is a 19-year-old, self-proclaimed Black nationalist that avidly works toward the liberation of marginalized groups from oppressive systems.
As the sun shined through the windows of the McKinley Building, the American University sophomore, studying African American and African diaspora studies, said she acknowledges the struggles and experiences of oppressed groups, but said we need to focus on "how are we going to move forward, live different lives and redefine ourselves."
The Kansas City-native is a Frederick Douglass Distinguished Scholar (FDDS) and a member of The Darkening. This summer, Alyssa will lead an Alternative Break program, halfway around the world, in South Africa. The three-week excursion, titled Arts as Resistance, will explore the history of radical resistance and attempt to "understand art as a tool for political organizing under apartheid."
In addition to her hard work and activism at AU, Alyssa is also involved in D.C.-based organizations, including the Food Clothing Resistance Collective (FCRC) and Blackout: Generation Liberation. Alyssa said the goal of both organizations is to "divest and not participate in oppressive systems, but not just complain about it and attempt to change, but to build our own alternative."
Through the Food Clothing Resistance Collective, Alyssa helps provide food, toiletries and clothing to those in need around D.C. The organization ties activism and art together by creating a "hub for artists," through a media center and music events like beat battles and cyphers. Alyssa says Blackout: Generation Liberation's mission is "mobilizing youth to understand these systems and the objective we want to achieve, which is full independence and autonomy." As a Black nationalist, Alyssa said she thinks it's important to "attain the skills for independence, like being able to grow our own food, craft our own things and not have to depend on stores. The whole movement is about land so we can build our own communities."
Although Alyssa has always understood the effects of oppressive systems, she credits elders of the movement with her understanding of what a community can do. Alyssa says rapper and FCRC founder Sima Lee is a source of inspiration for her.
Besides activism, Alyssa enjoys designing and tailoring clothes. You can also find her at the WVAU studio co-hosting the podcast, Heaux Nation, with Emem Obot. The podcast discusses Black Nationalism, but from "a place of sexual power and autonomy."
Through her community involvement, Alyssa said she's learned to embrace her purpose. "There are a lot of people that don't have alignment in their lives because they're called to something, but they force themselves into something else," said Alyssa. "This is sort of what I was doing before I really embraced what I needed to do and what I'm called to do. When I did embrace it, things started to fall into place."