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Friday, August 14, 2020

A voice is meant for more than just singing

Danielle Evans stands in the Botanical Garden at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., on May 20, 2019. Evans is a Friend of UMOJA and has been accepted to USC and UC Berkeley. (Photo by: Chelsea Westman)

For years Daniele Evans wanted to use her songs to advocate for civil rights. Now she wants to help people find their voice to speak out against discrimination.

Evans originally came from Shreveport, Louisiana, where racism is more prominent. She came to California to pursue a career in music and to express her experiences, as a way to show other people of color they are not alone.

“Music was my life and I would create music to advocate for people of color, and I felt like that would be the only way I could express myself,” Evans said. “I was doing well, I was song writing for a major company, but I didn’t like the industry out here, I’m a feminist and I just don’t believe in a lot of things that factor into that whole lifestyle. You would be surprised with the kinds of situations you would be put in.”

After leaving a career in music, Evans picked up a job as a personal assistant to a lawyer where she discovered that she wanted to become a civil rights lawyer and help people who aren’t able to represent or speak up for their own rights.

“He was helping people, and advocating for other peoples rights,” Evans said. “As a personal injury attorney he was working with people getting hurt and misused in a work environment, and the majority of them were people of color. I realized that if i’m going to do this, to speak up and help other people, I knew I needed to go back to school.”

Evans would then come to Pierce to study Political Science, and In the fall, she is planning to attend Berkeley University but has also been accepted to the University of Southern California (USC) as well.

On top of attending college Evans also works two jobs, one of which is a business she runs herself.

“I work part time in retail and I also work part time for my own job that I have. I run a travel agency and It’s like my own independent business. So it’s like my side hustle, well they are both of my side hustles that turned into full time,” Evans said. There are a lot of students that need extra cash so a lot of them pick up part-time jobs in between studying. For those students who are constantly studying, a lot of them decide to answer surveys for various companies and get paid for it. Sites like Toluna, here’s the Toluna review if you’re interested, allow students to make a little extra income wherever they are. They can answer surveys in between classes or whenever they have a spare moment. If Evans had the time, she would certainly be answering these surveys too but with her 2 jobs and studies, there’s never really much spare time.

According to the advocate article, Louisiana education is behind Texas ten years in education. High school students in Texas are already working on college level work but in Louisiana there just now teaching high schools the basics to get to the next level.

“Since I’ve been here at Pierce, my experience has been smooth sailing versus the south,” Evans said. “When I came to Pierce, I thought I was stupid compared to other kids. I would get frustrated with myself because everyone else was catching on to the class material and I wasn’t. Southern education really messed me over, so coming to Pierce I’ve really had to relearn everything from scratch, which is fine with me because I appreciate it more.”

UCLA sociology professor Steven Clayman has worked with Evans first hand, and believes that she do well no matter the college she chooses, due to her work ethic.

“I’ve helped her with a lot of outside work as far a mentorships, court cases and internships. She was introduced to me by another faculty at Pierce who recommend that she would be a good candidate for a few jobs that I’ve have lined up for my students at UCLA,” Clayman said. “Evans is very dependable and hardworking and so far has done good work with past projects, and she’s going to do very well at which every University she chooses.”

Classmate Kyle Bagarra said that Evans goes above and beyond to achieve in school.

“As a classmate, she is very smart girl,” Bagarra said. “I’ve seen her put in overtime to ask the professor for help and even go the extra mile to keep her grades above average.”

Aside from a bit of anxiety, Evans is looking forward to what the future has to offer.

“I’m nervous about moving again but I can’t wait to see what this journey has to offer me in the future,” Evans said. “I believe that all things happen for a reason and there’s a reason why I am here at Pierce and getting ready to transfer to university and, you know, continue continuing my journey. Like Plato says, ‘Finding your species being’, and I truly found like my species being and I know what I want to do, I know what I want to be and I know like what I’m here on this earth for and who to help.”

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