A recipe for lemonade

Halle Lindsay

Beyonce’s Lemonade is poetic and strategic. It aims to illustrate the grasp of freedom in the midst of adversity and reconciliation in spite of pain. In essence, the story of the black woman. Through self-knowledge she inspires women to seek peace. From courage, she is inherently the strength to fight: served lemons, but making lemonade. The University of Alabama provides us the opportunity to overcome the sweetest and sourest of moments. I have experienced both and discovered that pressing through the sour is worthwhile. In my parting words, I too have been served lemons but chose to drink lemonade.

Whether it was the excitement of my best friend hearing he won SGA President, being on the field for Homecoming Court or fighting for social change through grassroots organizations, I have always found myself in the middle of a shifting tide. There is a joy in breaking the silence.

My sophomore year was the first time I witnessed the breaking of silence. From the paper, I read about an NPC sorority woman who courageously exposed the sad reality of her sorority not accepting a black woman. It was powerful and symbolized the final stand in the schoolhouse door. Little did I know that in September of 2013 I would call her sister.

It was a great experience: the date parties, fried Fridays and philanthropy events became a world I quickly grew to love. Never did I feel like an outcast or simply the other: I was a sister. Time went on and I had befriended almost every member, served on the executive council and lived in the sorority house. But often I was questioned about my decision. Why would you join a traditionally white sorority? Have you ever considered joining a historically black sorority? Questions that at the time I could easily answer.

Only recently have I posed these questions to myself.

My critical love for this campus is what first got me involved in dismantling the culture of silence at UA. But I hit a wall of silence when my decision to run for Homecoming Queen divided my house. Like the step I took to integrate my sorority, this was an opportunity to step forward and unite campus. Due to the political reality of our campus the decision of my sisters to support me was not theirs. Though no one told me not run, it was the silence that made it clear: the fear of alienation from the group. Rather than voicing the pain, I decided to fall silent.

The past several months, I have been having a hard time to discover why. Is it because of the color of my skin? Because I believe campus politics limits opportunity? Or because I am too courageous to conform?

Instead of questioning, I decided to gain self-knowledge and healing: I decided to make lemonade. As a black woman, my strengths are a product of those brave queens who have gone before me. Autherine Lucy Foster, Vivian Malone Jones and others have set the standard for forgiveness and reconciliation. As the first black woman in my sorority, the destiny of those like me – present and future – relied on my ability to overcome adversity, proving to all our sisters there is nothing we can’t achieve.

So why choose that sorority? Because we can.

It is ironic that the most integral part of my collegiate career has made me feel both empowered and abandoned. Yet through it all I have cherished the sisterhood. I’m a phenomenal woman; able to think of the bigger picture and lead my group forward.

You’ve been served lemons? Find the inner strength to pull yourself up, and make lemonade. 

Halle Lindsay is a senior majoring in psychology and minoring in biology. She is a member of the 2015 Homecoming Court and has served as President of The XXXI Women’s Honor Society and President of UA Blend. After graduation she will be attending University of Connecticut’s post-baccalaureate program before matriculating in medical school.