Lasting Impact: An Andrew Goodman Alumni Q&A With Gabrielle Slaughter, Spelman College
Gabrielle Slaughter is The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Lead Program Manager: HBCU Strategist. Not only that, but she is also an alumna of the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program, where she was an Ambassador at Spelman College. Gabrielle graduated from Spelman College in May of 2020 with a degree in Political Science. She currently resides in Atlanta where she supports our Andrew Goodman HBCU Cohort alongside her puppy, Seven.
Tell us about your experience as an Andrew Goodman Ambassador. Was there a campaign you championed as an Ambassador that you are particularly proud of?
My experience as an Andrew Goodman Ambassador was unique. Since I didn’t learn of the Ambassadorship until the end of my junior year, I was only able to be an Ambassador for one academic year and said year was abruptly ended by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I was able to identify several obstacles that existed for HBCU students specifically when trying to organize on their campuses.
What legacy did you leave on campus for future generations of Ambassadors to continue?
On the campus of Spelman College, I left the legacy of remaining steadfast regardless of any and every obstacle that was placed in front of me.
As an Ambassador, how did you contribute to creating lasting change and a more democratic culture on your campus?
As an Ambassador I contributed to creating lasting change by carrying out the initiatives of the Ambassadors before me and making sure nothing got lost in translation. However, I feel like I was able to make my biggest impact while working here at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. I am now able to be consistent in my support for as many students as possible in the Atlanta University Center in helping them to increase student voter accessibility.
How did your time in the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program impact your development as a leader and community member?
My matriculation throughout college and my Andrew Goodman Ambassadorship developed my leadership in my community in different ways. Spelman College is located in the West End, a historic and influential community in Atlanta. However, the socioeconomic status of the people who live here is extremely low. Spelman College prioritizes giving back to the West End community, with students consistently volunteering in the neighboring schools amongst other activities. The intersection between Spelman and AGF gave me the opportunity to engage the surrounding community civically, raising awareness about upcoming elections and making sure as many people as possible were registered to vote.
Tell us about what you’re doing today. How did your time as an Ambassador inform your continuing education, work, or volunteerism?
Currently I work as the Lead Program Manager: HBCU Strategist at The Andrew Goodman Foundation. My time as an Andrew Goodman Ambassador quite literally prepared me for this role because I was able to experience what it feels like organizing on a HBCU campus. Now I support students who are currently in shoes I used to fill, which is a full circle moment.
As an Alumni of our program, how are you continuing to reflect on our story and to carry forward the Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner legacy today?
As an Alumni of the Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program and a Black woman with familial connection to the Deep South, I feel as though this story lives with me. This is not only a story of this organization, but it’s also an experience that most Black people in the United States connect to. I reflect on this story every time I visit my grandparents or assist a student through an obstacle they are facing on campus. There’s always a bigger picture. (Editor’s note: Listen to Gabrielle reflect further on this legacy on Season 3 Episode 6 of our Live the Legacy podcast.)
What advice would you give to our current Ambassadors?
I advise current Ambassadors to give themselves grace for this time in their lives. Submit to learning yourself and discovering who you are. This is not a time where you will do everything right; just do the best you can in every circumstance.
Stay tuned as we continue our Lasting Impact series, featuring alumni of our Andrew Goodman Vote Everywhere program, what they’re doing today, and how they are still living the legacy.