Today we’d like to introduce you to Samaiya Butler.
Samaiya, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Hello! My name is Samaiya Butler! I am a graduating senior at Spelman College. I am originally from Chicago Illinois, born and raised, from the south side neighborhood, Englewood. Englewood is known to be the most violent neighborhood in the city and because I was from this neighborhood, my family and I wanted to combat the stereotypes of Englewood and it’s residents and the stigma my community has in correlation with violence, especially gun violence. In 2010, my parents and other residents founded R.A.G.E., Resident Association of Greater Englewood. R.A.G.E is an organization that brings residents together to improve the neighborhood. With R.A.G.E, I was able to meet and network with many people in and outside of my neighborhood. We hosted events in the park every summer, passed out flyers, hosted bi-monthly meetings and kept so residents up to date on what’s happening in their community. I had been so familiar with what it meant to serve my community that it had taken up the majority of my life from age 10 to high school. My senior year of high school, I was offered a position with the Bonner’s Scholar Program at Spelman College. The Bonner’s Scholar Program is a program that chooses scholars based on their commitment to service and giving back to the communities around us. Spelman had always been a dream but being able to go on a full-ride community service scholarship was so significant and important for me. My whole life, I was raised on the values that reminded me to constantly, always be willing to give to others.
Being someone that has always wanted to volunteer and give back, I have had the most amazing opportunities around the world because of this. In 2017, I was able to be a volunteer English and ICT teacher in Namibia, a Southern African country for three months. The summer after that I was fortunate enough to intern with MoreDASH in Paris, while also still working closely with the R.A.G.E team to take the skills I was learning abroad, to my own community. I had always been a writer and extremely passionate about my writing, but I really started to share my work with the public in 2018 after my internship with in Paris. I felt like I lived a life where I wanted to share my experiences; the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. I just loved to write. And being an English major at Spelman had finally gotten me enough confidence to share my words with the rest of the world.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Nothing has ever come easy for me, but I feel like as long as I stay motivated, focused and continue to follow my passion, I will eventually get passed all the obstacles that tried to hinder me from moving forward. With my commitment to serving my neighborhood in Chicago, I have been exposed to so much. I have seen things that has traumatized me in different ways, but my fear and trauma has not stopped me from serving my community. I see those experiences as something that was traumatic, but necessary because now I truly know how motivated and determined I am to better my community and the communities around us.
Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am a writer. I have a personal blog, SammySpeaks.com, that discusses all aspects of my life or my thoughts in some way, shape, form or fashion. My blog is more personal than anything. I feel like my blog is set apart from others because it’s true reflection of how chaotic my life can get. I don’t want my readers/subscribers to ever feel like everything is all good with me all the time. I am human. We all have highs. We all have lows. Ignoring the lows won’t make them disappear. Acknowledging them will give your subscribers a feel of how you not only are as a writer but as a person. I think I am most proud of the different categories I was able to create as I was writing my blogs, each category is very important in my personal life.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My mom is my number one motivator. She has instilled in me how important it is to create something you love first and to never chase money especially if it’s something I don’t have a passion from. Seeing that doing what you love first, then money will follow was so important for me to understand. I am forever grateful.
My dad is also someone that I would call my mentor. He has shown me how to create. How to do what you love. And how to get people to support you in the process. I am so thankful for his journey and being able to watch him before I go through the same thing.
I also believe that the love and support I have experienced from R.A.G.E members has shown me how many people are rooting for me and watching everything I do. This motivates me to continue R.A.G.E.’s work and the mission of R.A.G.E. in other communities.
- Interview (As the interviewer) – $50-$150
- Writing (Depends on style of writing, length, etc) – $40-$200
- Stylist (depends on number of pieces) $30-$200
- Website: sammyspeaks.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samaiyaaa/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/samaiyaaa