Mason on the reign of Miss Black Texas Tech 2020, future plans | life
During her freshman year at Texas Tech, Aleeza Mason said she lived under a rock. She was a biochemistry student and cellist in the orchestra, but felt isolated from Tech’s black community in her largely white group of friends.
Over a year later, she found herself on stage with four other women competing to represent the Black Student Association in Homecoming and in the Tech community. Mason said that on the day of the contest, she panicked.
“I’m very, like, in my studies, I don’t really invest that much, and so it really took me out of my comfort zone,” Mason said. “And yes, I cried. A good, like – I was shaking all the time, I was shaking.
Mason won the Miss Black Texas Tech 2020 contest last April after the contest was postponed due to COVID-19. According to BSA, the Miss Black Texas Tech Contest began decades ago when women of color weren’t allowed to sit on the Homecoming lot, which led to BSA forming its own contest for the black community.
To date, only two black women have been crowned reunion queens in tech history: Sharon Moultrie Bruner in 1981 and Dr. Sonya Miles Sloan in 1992, according to BSA records.
“And I think a lot of people think it’s, like, it doesn’t happen (discrimination) anymore, like it’s just, ‘Oh, that’s okay, it’s a color blind campus’, but it doesn’t It’s not, like, we’ve been through things, (it doesn’t matter) how tiny they are, we’ve been through them, ”Mason said.
The competition was on hold for a while until it was resumed in 2015. Categories include a group dance, a walk showcasing candidates’ future careers, a talent showcase, and evening gown walks with a question segment. and answers.
But winning the title isn’t just about competition performance. The winner receives a $ 1,000 scholarship and is expected to play a key role in the Black Tech community.
After the Black Lives Matter movement peaked in 2020, Mason said she felt she needed to take a stand and make a name for herself in the Tech community. After being convinced by her friend Zaria, she decided to join the race for the contest.
“It was so informal, like, legitimate, Zaria was like, ‘Do you want to join?’ And I was like, ‘OK, great,’ ”Mason said.
Zaria Sumling is the coordinator of the BSA event and the director of this year’s Miss Black TTU contest. Sumling and Mason met at the age of 12 at the church they attended in their hometown of Houston.
Sumling said Mason was always outgoing and outspoken.
“We knew each other through our church focus groups, and whenever we were in our focus group or whatever, she would always speak – she always would – if there was no one speaking in the room. or whatever, when we were talking about something, she was always the person speaking up and putting her idea, or her mind, whatever was going on in her head, first to start the conversation, ”said Sumling, a third year interior design student.
Malcom Montgomery, a third-year political science and sociology student from Houston and president of the BSA membership, met Mason through a high school friend and said he immediately clicked with her. He said he immediately understood her caring nature.
Montgomery was not yet on the BSA board of directors when he tuned in to the contest, but he already knew several of the other contestants personally.
Mason’s passion and detail-oriented nature, Montgomery said, made her stand out as a winner.
“I think sometimes Aleeza just has that aura that comes with her, it’s kind of like, you see the passion she wants to make, you see the change, the passion behind the change she wants to make,” said Montgomery said.
Although Mason’s reign as Miss Black Texas Tech was cut short due to the pandemic, she said she had several plans for how BSA could increase her reach in the community.
Mason said she felt inspired by the association’s pressure for the Black Cultural Center to open in January 2022 and that she was honored to be the leader of this change.
Mason is studying to become a neonatologist, a doctor who treats newborns with illnesses or disorders. She also participates in Tech Music Med, where student musicians perform for patients in nursing homes.
Mason said she is looking to integrate the mission behind Tech Music Med with BSA and the rest of the campus as the association liaison.
“I think BSA is very strong in itself, but it can be stronger with, you know, all these other organizations doing great things, but I don’t think we communicate enough where it’s like a bigger one. force on campus, ”Mason said. “I really want these organizations to have more power on campus. “
As of October 5, Mason was among the top 10 candidates for the reunion queen. The Miss Black Texas Tech 2021 contest will take place on November 6, one day before the 40th anniversary of Sharon Moultrie Bruner’s victory as reunion queen.
Reflecting on her time as the title holder, Mason said that she realized that being a doctor was not enough to achieve her goal of helping people. She said the next Miss Black Texas Tech must realize that the black community will never stop fighting for change.
“Rule with passion, grace and determination,” Mason said.