Fearless Friday: Tiarra Riggins

As we conclude Yik Yak Awareness Week, we’d like to recognize Tiarra Riggins ’17, the fearless organizer behind this week’s events. ”People don’t realize how words can damage a soul,” says Tiarra. Her efforts this week have been aimed at stopping cyberbullying and changing the culture of Yik Yak to a more positive and uplifting space. The events during this past week ranged from a discussion on the effects of cyberbullying to daily CUB tables, encouraging students to sign a banner against cyberbullying and the negative aspects of Yik Yak.

A globalization studies major and Spanish minor, Tiarra is actively involved, striving to make the campus a more inclusive and comfortable environment. As the community service liaison for the Black Student Union, she encourages members to become involved in collaborating with clubs and events that promote social justice. Additionally, she is a member of the Diversity Peer Educators and the president of the Gettysburg College Gospel Choir. Tiarra is also involved with the Center for Public Service and currently serves as the program coordinator for Casa de la Cultura’s Sunday swimming program. The youth swimming program encourages children to utilize their time in a healthy way and allows parents to have fun with their children and establish connections with the college community. Tiarra states that she enjoys watching the growth in the children, not only with their swimming skills, but also as they become more comfortable with the volunteers and with themselves.

Tiarra’s passion for helping others started at a very early age. She remembers growing up in a community with growing economic and social disparities between the Jewish and Black communities. At boarding school, Tiarra learned more about issues and began to think more critically about them. Her passion for social justice was born through these experiences.

Tiarra continues to utilize her interest in Spanish culture and language to help others. With the Center for Public Service, Tiarra assists with DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). She describes immigration issues as something that is really important to her, as she believes that too often immigrants are not treated fairly. She hopes that through this work she is able to help people rebuild their lives.

Tiarra has many ambitious plans for the rest of her time at Gettysburg. This upcoming summer, she will combine her passions for music, art, and social justice as one of two students to participate in CPS’s Summer Fellowship Program in Nepal. She wants to continue looking for more opportunities to connect with others. She hopes to continue increasing her knowledge on social justice and having it present in all the work she does now and in the future.