College: California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB)
Graduation: December, 2010
Highlights: Sociology club, MAC peer advisor
About Monique: I'm the only girl, born in a family of three boys. Growing up, I've always seen my dad work hard to get what he wanted and to provide for his family. I promised myself that I would do the same for my family. A quote that always sticks in my head from my dad is “I just want your kids to have a better life than you did.”
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the tender age of 29, just a few years after I was born. While growing up, I didn’t know that my mother had any type of disease. She didn’t seem sick; she seemed like everyone else’s mom. When I was in about 8th grade, that is when things started to take a turn for the worst. My mom was getting smaller, her hair was falling out, and she had to resort to the infamous wigs. I was scared. Even though I was still young, I knew that things weren’t looking good. My mom was in the hospital for a week or two, and I thought everything would be okay. She then returned home, and was confident that everything was much better, until her bed was now in the living room, and she had a walker & a wheel chair. I remember the day my mother passed as if it happened yesterday. When I arrived home from school, I went to speak with my mother, and she was lying in her bed, breathing heavily. I just figured she was taken a nap, from a long day at home. A few hours later, she was in the same state as she was when I came home from school. My family all remained calm, and I just knew that something was not right. I sat at my mom’s bedside from then on out. I asked my dad hundreds of questions, wanting to know the status on my mom, and he just told me “it’s not looking good”. I couldn’t take it! No, my mom was just breathing, up & her normal self a few hours before I went to school. How could this all happen within a matter of hours? At around 9pm, she took her last breath.
I was 15 years old, I had to step up and become the woman of the house. That meant that while my dad attended work (24 hour shifts) I cooked for my younger siblings, cleaned the house, and looked after them. I was forced to grow up before I wanted to. While attending community college, I wanted to give up. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, I was discouraged and I felt that it was too much work to get to where I wanted to be. I then thought about the promise I made to myself, and also the promise I made to my mother the day that she passed away, and I pushed forward. Graduating from community college with a 3.0+ GPA, and being admitted into a university was the happiest day of my life. Before arriving at the university, I didn't realize how close I was to having my bachelor’s degree. A year and six months later, I am a college graduate with my bachelor’s degree! I'm glad I never gave up, and I pushed forward. My goal when I return back to San Diego is to work in Social Services. I really want to work with kids/teens in helping them to learn about STD's & HIV. I think it's really important for people to be aware of this, especially African Americans. My ultimate dream that I want to accomplish in the future is to participate in the Susan G Komen 3 day walk, in memory of my mother who passed away from breast cancer, and to help find a cure for breast cancer.
What is your life's mission?
My mission is to successfully support and empower women and families that have been affected by breast cancer and continue growing, learning and motivating.
What does being a black woman mean to you?
Being a black woman means to be great and powerful! 'Black is Beautfiul'
"I thought about the promise I made to myself, and also the promise I made to my mother the day that she passed away, and I pushed forward"