Black liberation triumphs over student debt

By: Jonece Starr Dunigan
Published: Sep 09, 2022

Photo Description and Credit: Dr.Shamell Bell, of the Debt Collective, helps liberate Black people - especially Black women - from student loan debt. (Courtesy of Dr. Shamell Bell)

If you’re an OG subscriber to the newsletter, you probably figured out I am a sucker for vulnerability: taking the emotional risk of being open and honest about ourselves and our struggles in hopes of creating a deeper connection with one another.

It’s a great – and sometimes ghetto – experience. Last week, Shanna Bennett and I chatted about the struggle bus of paying for college and how Bennett is educating and empowering those who are buckling under the weight of a $1.7 trillion student loan debt crisis through her podcast and her brand that will soon be raising funds to pay off debts. In response to President Joe Biden’s student debt cancelation plan, I’m continuing the focus on those who have been liberating people from their student debts, mostly highlighting the work of the Debt Collective.

Known as the nation’s first debt union, the Debt Collective helps debtors realize their power through debt strikes, crowdfunding and other forms of activism. The union has wiped out more than $32 million of medical, student, payday loan, and probation debt in 10 years. Black women at Bennett College, a historically Black institution in North Carolina, can now provide for their growing families, finish their degrees and fulfill other dreams after the Debt Collective eliminated $1.7 million of the college’s student debt.

Looks like Black joy still reigns supreme even when a debt crisis weighs on the Black community in so many ways. Amplify the liberation by sharing this newsletter with your friends and family and let’s get free, y’all.