San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

What Black History Month means to me as Editor-in-chief

Everyone should see themselves as leaders, regardless of their identity
The Daily Aztec’s 2023-2024 Editorial Board poses for a picture at the publication’s banquet at Scripps Cottage on May 3, 2023. Photo courtesy of Huy Huynh

When I became The Daily Aztec’s editor-in-chief, I was notified by Lauren J. Mapp, San Diego Union-Tribune reporter, of a story about how I would be the first Black woman in 110 years to hold this important role. 

The last Black editor-in-chief for The Daily Aztec was Neil Kendricks (before Reggie Smith in ‘77) during the 1993-1994 year. 

I was excited to be featured in a professional paper and to make history at The Daily Aztec. However, it took me months to fully recognize the significance of Mapp’s article. As we produce our February issue, it’s a meaningful time for me to reflect on Black History Month.

When I was encouraged by my colleagues in the spring of 2023 to apply to become the next editor-in-chief of The Daily Aztec, I instantly got butterflies in my stomach. My own intersectional identity — being a young Black woman in a newsroom setting — served as an insecurity that worked hand-in-hand with my Imposter Syndrome.

Twenty-year-old me at the time had many thoughts. How can someone so young run a large team and publication that is 110 years old? I’ve never seen someone who looks like me apply to this position… am I the first?

To ignore those negative thoughts, I reminded myself that anything is possible and to not limit a worthwhile opportunity, especially with my peers rooting for me to apply. If they all had faith in me, why shouldn’t I? 

So I took the latter thought and I have not looked back since. 

Now, I embrace my intersectionality and empower others to become leaders, regardless of their identity.

It may be easier said than done to overcome Imposter Syndrome, and it’s okay. It’s something that isn’t automatically resolved by holding a high position. What does matter, though, is having an optimistic mindset, taking risks and being patient.

I am interested in what the future holds for Black leadership in The Daily Aztec’s newsroom since Kendricks’ tenure as EIC ended 30 years ago. 

However, I know that I will not be the last. 


About the Contributor
Daesha Gear
Daesha Gear, '23-24 Editor in Chief
Daesha Gear is a senior transfer from Riverside City College. Before becoming involved at The Daily Aztec in the 2022 fall semester, Gear was involved in her publication at RCC called Viewpoints, serving as the Opinion and Assistant News Editor. At her community college, the Journalism Association of Community Colleges awarded her an honorable mention for covering a feature story on LGBTQ+ students at RCC. Heading into her final year as a Journalism-Media Studies major, Gear serves as The Daily Aztec’s 2023-2024 Editor-in-Chief, making her the first Black woman to hold this title in the publication’s history. Outside of her role at The Daily Aztec, Gear has freelanced for The Raincross Gazette, a publication in Riverside, and interned with NBC 7 San Diego as a Digital Intern. Daesha has also appeared in a story for the San Diego Union-Tribune and in SDSU’s JMS podcast called “Where Ya At?” In her final year, Gear hopes to continue broadening her expertise in technology and its impact on the ever-changing landscape of journalism. But if she’s not writing or handling matters related to the publication, Gear is probably watching basketball, horror films or exploring new cities.