Meet Rayne Blakely-Lopez of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Nu Upsilon Chapter
I was born and raised in Los Angeles in the Crenshaw District. Growing up, education was always at the forefront of my family. My father is a teacher and my mom is a sign language interpreter, as a result I have always had great role models for what I can do in life right in front of me. With that being said, “Work before play” is the motto I go by but don’t get me wrong I am also such an outspoken person who loves to be involved in any way that I can.
Anyone who knows me knows how open, outspoken, nurturing, I am and that this is what lead me to college. In high school, I was never afraid to be the person who spoke up and express my concerns and feelings. During those four coming of age years, I was very involved in many different organizations, my proudest responsibility was my role as the captain of the step team during my senior year. With this experience, my evolution into college was much easier. I knew that I wanted to be involved in any way that I could.
I saw my mentors and other seniors at the time making strives on our campus and taking up leadership positions that I could see myself proudly taking on in the near future. In the last couple of years, I have found myself at exciting meetings, talks, rallies, and events. I always went out of my way to make connections and introduce myself at these events so that people would know who I was and why I was here. I wanted to be heard and recognized, but most of all I just wanted to find a community that I belonged in.
As I progressed through college, I joined the wonderful organizations Student African American Sisterhood and the African Student Union. My sophomore year I was the Public Relations Chair for Student African American Sisterhood and the Secretary for African Student Union. I have to admit, I was a little daunted in the face of my positions and new responsibilities at first but I quickly grew to love them. I formed a family on both boards and like in every family, we had our ups and downs.
My sophomore year was also the year I became a part of the dynamic and devastating organization, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated where I made lifetime sisters. This was the year where things really took off for me. Currently, I am grateful and thankful to say that I am a graduating senior with a Pre Nursing Women’s Major and Africana Studies Minor who is also the President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated the Nu Upsilon Chapter.
After experiencing some of the cruel realities of our world, such as sexism and racism, I have grown up to be the strong woman that I am today. College gave me the opportunity to fail and pick myself back up with the help of my fellow Black peers and professors. I have learned and grown so much. Of course, there is still a lot of untamed skills and knowledge that I have yet to learn, and sometimes I wondered if the amazing years I spent here truly prepared me for the outside world, and I know in my heart that they have. I feel ready and prepared and excited for the next chapter of my life.
The road to success is never smooth. We all have different bumps and bruises to show for our distinct pathways. As I expressed before, I am still learning and going through my own bumpy road which for me, involves life-changing experiences. I believe that this is something that I share with many of my peers. Another thing I believe that many of us have in common is our journey and search for our true self. Being a person of color, a Black woman specifically, on a predominantly White campus can really be draining especially if you don’t know your worth and where you come from. From this experience, I can advise other young men and women of color that knowing yourself and your self-worth is incredibly important.
Ask yourself what sets you apart from other peers on this campus? How do you validate your feelings? Who do you identify as? More importantly, how do you ground yourself in that identity? These are questions that I continuously ask myself, and I constantly check in with myself to see how I am doing spiritually, mentally, and physically. One of my friends who really helped me with this is my girl Jasmine Miles who was also featured on here. She is always checking in on me and validating my feelings. I truly advise young people to find their someone that checks in on them and supports them, and I could also encourage them to be that someone for other people. This way, you can form a community where everyone validates one another and cares about each person’s growth and worth.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is an organization of college-educated women committed to the constructive development of its members, and to public service, with the primary focus on the Black community. This organization is one of the nine Black sororities and fraternities that are all across the nation and have a mission to the greater good of our Black people. The Nu Upsilon Chapter, whom I am President of, is regionally recognized and nationally known for its dedication to public service to improve the San Diego community.
I am so proud to be in this organization and chapter not only because of the vast sisterhood but the work that we do in our communities no matter where we are. For example, we had our 54th National Convention in New Orleans this past summer, but due to the storm, we had to cut it short. Instead of picking up and leaving the organization donated to the people of New Orleans. To be a part of that experience and organization that is bigger than themselves brings joy to my heart. We are able to create change, help those who are in need, and even mentor the younger generations to come.
I would define success through the feeling of happiness about the change or accomplishments that you have done. If you feel that you have put your all into something and you have done the best that you can within your community or even regarding yourself, then you have success. No one will reach success and happiness trying to please everyone else around you.