When I decided to apply for the NCCBC scholarship, I never in a MILLION years thought I would get it. I knew I wanted to experience it and network and meet other people in the industry, but I also knew I probably couldn’t afford to go on my own. Well guess what? I freaking got a SCHOLARSHIP!
To say this experience was AMAZING is really an understatement. I met so many amazing people across the state of N.C. in the beer industry and once again it felt like a really big family.
As a black woman, I often feel like a unicorn when it comes to the craft beer industry. Even after attending the NC Craft Brewers Conference, I always noticed when I was the only black woman in the room, which was honestly most of the conference. Although it didn’t bother me, because I know I belong there and I don’t need anyone’s approval, I definitely noticed it and someone else even brought it to my attention. Attending this conference made me realize that the ability and the power to make a difference each and every day starts with US. By inviting people to the table that normally wouldn’t have a place to sit, and making them feel welcomed, it helps create a space that everyone feels safe in despite of race, gender, sexuality or anything else. There’s a lot to disagree with in this world, but I would argue that beer brings people together, and that’s the way that it should be. This conference provided me with and opportunity to learn from my peers and others, but it also gave me the courage to continue feeling comfortable being the only “black girl” in the room.