Diversity and Inclusion Director promises to sleep on time, after finishing this at 5 a.m.

Areeba Amer

As part of my character, this was over word count. Three years of friendships, hugs, blood, sweat and tears cannot possibly fit in 540 words and, frankly, three departments and a global pandemic later, I was not prepared for who I’d become leaving this newsroom. But I wouldn’t change it for anything (except the pandemic part).

These past few semesters I worked nonstop to find solutions that hopefully bettered this newsroom for people of marginalized communities. The industry is systematically flawed and, to be frank, we still have work to do.

However, it’s the people here that make us better. The people who work here on top of school, the people who work multiple jobs to sustain their career here and the people from marginalized communities who face unique barriers to enter and remain at this newsroom.

These people shouldn’t have to endure, but they do. Thank you to every one of you for that.

Most importantly, thank you to my family: Dr. Mahvash Amer, Dr. Amer Suleman, Azal Amer and Abeera Amer. I wouldn’t be here without my mom guiding me through the chaos, Azal making sure I wasn’t working 28/7 and Abeera pulling me together when I was falling apart.

Thank you to spring management for making the D&I Board feel constantly supported.

Thank you Abhirupa (Penne) for building all your initiatives basically from scratch with little direction. Boba on me next time. Thank you Sanika (Sank) for understanding my coverage tracking madness and agreeing to make 300 fantastic workshops. I’m expecting you in Dallas in 3 ½ hours.

Thank you to our board contributors: Ahitza, Carolynn, Rachael and Sruti. Your passion for this board inspired me to do better every day. Don’t forget to always ask yourselves: What would fettucini do?

Thank you Trinady for being there for me through it all. You push me to be a better journalist and a better human by showing me what better is.

Thank you Ariana for being the best co-director I could’ve had. This summer will be great.

Thank you Megan for continuously being someone I look up to. I have 50 pitches ready for you when you read this.

Thank you Christina for designing this paper through March 12 and madness.

Thank you Lauren for running a great news department this semester and for your leadership this summer. You made this newsroom better.

Thank you Neelam for always being there to check in and talk when I need it. Your energy is infectious and you are so talented.

Thank you Emily for sitting through my 2-hour UTIMCO rants this summer. You trusted my stories when I thought no one else did.

Thank you to the people who pioneered the initial D&I board, including Lisa, Maria, Forrest and Tiana. Seeing you all step up and begin this board inspired me to follow in your footsteps.

Thank you Hal, Laurie, Brendan, Aurora, Katya and so many more. You are fantastic.

These people were the support system I needed to flourish here and everyone here deserves that. So, to future and current Texan staffers, if ever you need to talk or draft your call-out tweet, my Twitter is @areeba_amer.

My DMs are open.