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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

In remembrance of Taylor McClure, student activist and friend

Attendees write notes on a picture of Taylor McClure for her family during the celebration of life event held in the ASHÉ Center, located in the student center at City College Saturday, Feb. 3 2024.
Manuel Figueroa
Attendees write notes on a picture of Taylor McClure for her family during the celebration of life event held in the ASHÉ Center, located in the student center at City College Saturday, Feb. 3 2024.

On the evening of Feb. 3, members of City College’s ASHÉ Center, Black Student Union, peers, friends and family gathered in the ASHÉ Center space to celebrate the memory of former student and peer mentor Taylor McClure, who died last month.

 

What ASHÉ Center leader Ken “KT” Times called, “generations of students” packed into the space. Groups gathered to share memories, eat free barbecue, and dance to the booming hip-hop music permeating from the DJ booth. 

 

Around the room were relics to celebrate McClure, such as a table for attendees to write letters to her family, a portrait to sign heartfelt messages, and on a white board, “TT Taylor’s Teacher Recommendations” for the spring semester, written by McClure and meticulously organized by class subject.

 

McClure died Sunday, Jan. 14 at 30 years old, according to an email announcement from City College released on Jan. 15. According to one of the lead organizers of the remembrance event, ASHÉ Center Administrator Lisa Hayden, McClure died as a result of a car crash.

 

The journalism major was set to graduate in the spring, and was most known around campus as a fierce advocate for Black students. Throughout her time at City College, McClure took on multiple positions in the Black Student Union since 2019, and most recently as a peer mentor at the ASHÉ Center, a program which she helped develop over her time at the BSU.

 

Times has worked at City College for 15 years, and knew McClure since even before her work at the BSU, which he was a former representative of. “Taylor was really instrumental in helping the formation of ASHÉ in terms of the student view,” said Times.

 

McClure’s friend Joshua Robinson spoke about her impact on the BSU, during the celebration of life event.

 

“So many young girls looked up to her as a role model, as a leader, as a mentor, that by the end of the year she became the vice president,” Robinson said.

 

Hayden organized the event with Times, while Davin Brown, vice president of Student Services, acted as emcee for the event, giving the introduction speech.

 

ASHÉ students, faculty, friends and family members celebrate the life of Taylor McClure in the ASHÉ Center, located in the student center at City College Saturday, Feb. 3 2024.“What I most remember about Taylor is that she was a person that was an advocate for students,” said Hayden, who had a close relationship with McClure, “She was a networker. … She was always trying to make connections. And everywhere she went she would meet someone, and make a connection.”

 

Hayden knew McClure since the late student started working with the BSU, and although she was a mentor to her, Hayden described how McClure had always inspired and taught other students, and even Hayden herself, from the very beginning.

 

“The very first time I met Taylor, Taylor taught me what ‘standing on business’ meant,” said Hayden, referring to the way McClure was committed to getting things done. On only her second day working for the BSU, McClure pulled her aside and gave her a poignant lecture on the duties she would have to undertake as an administrator of the ASHÉ Center.

 

“‘We stand for Black lives up in the ASHÉ Center,’” McClure had said about the space she had helped to form, then added, “I will be watching you.”

 

To begin the ceremony, Times poured libations below a presentation displaying photos of McClure surrounded by family, friends and community members. He described the practice as a way to honor ancestors, and to attendees standing in the ASHÉ space, he asked deep questions to get them thinking of the future.

 

Dakota “Deejay” Jones, Nay Williams, Tyler McClure, Mulik Johnson, Ken “KT” Times, Chipo Ashe, Jamar՛éa Austin and Alexandria White give their remarks about beloved friend and sister Taylor McClure during the celebration of life event in the ASHÉ Center, located in the student center at City College Saturday, Feb. 3 2024.

 

“What will you take forward from what you learned from your experience with Taylor?” Times asked, “What quality of her’s will you take forward?”

 

As the speeches continued, a standout aspect of many stories arose. Peers highlighted McClure’s quality of fearless outspokenness, amid forces seeking to undermine strong Black voices, due to unhealthy stigmas, some of which named McClure “aggressive” for speaking her mind.

 

ASHÉ peer mentor Mulik Johnson noted McClure’s joyful, magnetic energy. “The swagger, her personality so potent. Who don’t wanna be friends with Taylor?” joked Johnson, sharing McClure’s impact on him after only knowing her for one year.

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About the Contributors
Emma Richman, Editor in Chief
Emma is passionate about writing in multiple disciplines, such as professional and creative. Emma is primarily interested in writing about news that directly affects Sacramento and its citizens during her time on the Express.
Manuel Figueroa, Staff Photographer
His interest in photography comes from his grandpa who was always taking photos, and owned various cameras along with movies and video games that featured photography.
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