ForCollegeForLife Podcast

ForCollegeForLife Speaker Qy'Darrius McEachern


Casey Cornelius (00:03):

Hey everyone. And welcome to the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife podcast. My name is Casey Cornelius. I am the founder and president of ForCollegeForLife and I get the distinct pleasure of interviewing members of our team, our speakers, and our consultants, and sharing with you, not only their messages, not only their programs, but also their journeys, their evolutions, what got them to where they’re at today, the feedback has been tremendous. And I invite you on whatever platform you are finding this podcast to please like and subscribe and leave a review. And if you could also be so kind as to share this episode and others as well, we would greatly appreciate it today. I get the pleasure of interviewing one of our newest speakers and consultants. And before I bring them to the mic, let me tell you a little bit about him.

Casey Cornelius (00:59):

Qy’darrius Z McEachern is a black able bodied cisgender man from a low income background. Who’s committed himself to researching and educating people on the systematic oppressions impacting us every single day through an anti-racist lens. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology with minors in social and economic justice and education from the University of North Carolina at chapel hill and attended Texas state university to earn his master’s degree in higher education. He is also a proud emphasis, proud member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity incorporated, Qy’Darrius, or as he is known, Q is a national speaker and consultant who strives to support offices, organizations, workplaces, schools, and more in an effort to create equitable spaces and innovative justice for individuals of color. He aims to move people from listening and learning to action and change action and change. And it’s my pleasure to bring Q to the mic now, Q thanks for being here today.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (02:05):

Of course, of course. Thanks for having me. How you doing

Casey Cornelius (02:06):

Casey? I’m doing wonderful. And I gotta tell you, listen, we talked about this before we hit records and I’m, I’m just gonna pull back the curtain a little bit. <Laugh> Q that microphone you have is really, really nice. You sound fantastic.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (02:20):

I appreciate it. I appreciate it. It’s been a long time coming and now I’m just excited to have the folks hear me clearly through micro mic.

Casey Cornelius (02:27):

There you go. It’s one of those things that we as speakers get a little nerdy about. It’s like, what microphone are you using? And Q’s is really, really good. I wanna make sure I, I get this out of the way from the beginning. Your name is Qy’Darrius. We’re gonna get people to pronounce that correctly, but you prefer to go by Q, is that correct?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (02:46):

I do. Yes. I prefer to go by Q

Casey Cornelius (02:48):

You wanna talk a little bit about where that comes from? Like, is it just a, a nickname that caught on over time or, or what’s, what’s the origin of that?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (02:56):

Yeah, no, it’s, it’s been a journey for me with my name. Right? So Qy’Darrius, not the quote unquote easiest name to say in growing up, I had the experience that a lot of folks who don’t have the quote unquote easy names experience in that folks tend to nickname you themselves, right? So I’ve gotten all the nicknames from Q to quad to what’s your name? Quad I’ll I’ll just call you Q or I’ll just call you quad or even in middle school, up through beginning of high school. My nickname was Q-tip because one person just decided that my name was too hard to say. So after I got a little older, I kind of went through the process of kind of reclaiming my name, cuz names are important. So I consistently went by Qy’Darrius for a little bit of time.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (03:44):

And then I thought about the fact that maybe I also have the power to nickname myself. Maybe I have the power to go by what I want to go by. And that’s where again, like I say, it’s interesting. I took back the power again, said I want to go by Q. Yeah. It’s a name that I feel comfortable with. It’s a name that I want others to call me. So whenever I introduce myself, you’re here I go by Qari and K Hern. I go by Q please feel free to call me Q. Because that’s my, that’s my preference. And it’s me kind of taking back that power a little bit where, where it, it was taken away from me for a long time. So that’s kind of where the nickname comes from and I gave it to myself.

Casey Cornelius (04:24):

I think that’s really cool. And, and, and I think it’s, it’s one of the things that people often struggle with. And one of the things that you do, which I I think is also really cool. And and I, and I mentioned this to you, you have a spot on your email signature that, that someone can click on to listen to you say your name

Qy’Darrius McEachern (04:41):

Exactly. Because I think it’s important for us to pronounce people’s names correctly. I think that for, yeah, I think that for me is I saw it on someone’s email signature years back, and I thought it was so cool and such a really good way for folks to also break that ice initially. And for me to avoid the inherent fact that folks just mispronounce my name without even asking how to pronounce it. So it’s a really good, it’s a really good thing for me. And I think that it’s a lot of other people use it as well. And I think that that goes through the importance of pronouncing people’s names correctly and also addressing the way they would like to be addressed. So, yeah, that’s a whole even deeper conversation <laugh> as

Casey Cornelius (05:24):

Well, maybe, maybe let’s see if we can get to it even just a little bit. Let’s let’s have, let’s have some fun. So yeah. You know, the, the, the final, the final line of your bio is really powerful. I think, I, I think I said it twice to, to emphasize the power. It says, you know, you aim to move people from listening and learning to action and change. Can you talk a little bit about that juxtaposition in your mind, the listening and learning versus action and change?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (05:52):

Absolutely so many times whenever there is a catastrophe or a really difficult thing that happens in the country in our world something that makes national news hits the news cycle for, for days things that are very evident of the ways that our world struggles with systems of oppression, of racism, homophobia sexism transphobia. When we see these things pop up, the common refrain that we hear is one thoughts and prayers or we’ll also hear well, now’s the time I’m, I’m listening and learning, I’m listening and learning. I think back to June, 2020, whenever we saw that the murder of George Floyd, we saw the murder of Brianna Taylor and the country really had, I believe a level of reckoning with really a level of education and understanding that needed to be had, but also a level of action that needed to be taken in order to really push back and address systems of racism within our country, across all the industries that we have.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (07:05):

And a lot of folks said I’m listening and learning, I’m listening and learning. And in that we saw that after that time of reckoning, where it was really intense and like everybody could feel it, how much action and change did we see come from that time where a lot of folks were listening and learning not much. Yeah. And I think for me, and, and, and why I started doing speaking, why I started doing any educational content, right. Was because I wanted to shift people from that mindset of, oh, well, I’m just listening and learning. I’m just listening and learning. I’m just listening and learning, which I’ve equated sometimes to the new thoughts and prayers. I think that it’s important for me to help kind of move folks from that state to, okay, how am I creating change in the spaces that I occupy?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (07:59):

How am I looking at my office and really addressing and creating change there? How am I thinking about my organization, looking at our rules, our bylaws, our constitution, and really shifting the language, shifting the actions that we are taking in order to create a more equitable space, more inclusive space what actions am I taking? And sometimes people are like, well, education is important. It absolutely is. And I do think that listening and learning is a phase of the process, but my goal is for how do we transition from just that phase to creating true change in order to create better situations for our students of color, better spaces for our faculty and staff of color, better situations for marginalized people at our university. So for me, that’s where the listing and learning to action and change comes from, because I think that both are important, but it’s about time that we start shifting to taking action and really creating change in the spaces that we have power and in the spaces that we occupy.

Casey Cornelius (09:02):

That’s such a sledge hammer statement. I, I, I love it. I let me unpack it just a little bit further, if you don’t mind. So hundred percent, I, I want to ask a, a two part. The first one is, let me, let me use the thoughts and prayers line just a little bit. I, I’m a believer that thoughts and prayers are important. I, I, I think it’s, they’re essential in many ways, but if, if thoughts and prayers don’t lead to action, mm-hmm <affirmative>, then it seems that they’re a little hollow of one might even call them performative, listening, and learning. I think I hear you say is also important, but if it ends at learning without action, it’s likewise performative am, am I getting that right?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (09:44):

Absolutely. And that word you use hollow is such a really, really good word to talk about it because it is important, but if it doesn’t lead to the change and the action that we need in order to actually create the better space, the better organization, the better world that we’re trying to create, then it is in a sense that level of performative or in a, or performance in order to seem like a good person, or to seem like you care, or to seem like it’s something that you’re passionate about, but not actually having the work behind it, that creates the better thing that creates a better space for the marginalized people in the situation.

Casey Cornelius (10:21):

I hear you, it, it, it actually leads me into the second part. And that is really about what many people associate with you, your signature program and that’s more than black boxes. And I, I know that one, it’s one it’s powerful, but two that it’s very personal to you as well. And that goes back to that timeline, June 20, 20 sort of the, the national dialogue that was going on and sort of the divergence toward performance that a lot of people took. Would you like to talk a little bit about the evolution of that?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (10:55):

Yeah, absolutely. And I think starting, starting in that place of June, 2020 is a good place to start because we can acknowledge that performance and performative activism performative allyship existed way before June, 2020. Yes. Yes. But we saw that level of kind of awareness that we didn’t see before. And the level of performative activism that we saw in that June 20, 20 to August, 2020 frame was just different. And I think that one thing to think about is that we were slash R in a global pandemic at that point. And I think that that is something to acknowledge in the fact that folks who were on social media folks were posting folks who were sitting on their couches, having internalizing all of this information at a different level, because in June, 2020, a lot of people were at home for extended period of times that it hadn’t been before.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (11:53):

Yeah. So whenever we think about how performative activism shifted as we saw June, 2020, I think we saw a lot of people who, whose eyes were open to something that they had not seen for a long time. We saw folks that cared about pushing back against racism, pushing back against police brutality. And I think that the immediate way you think to do that is to, I’m gonna share this post on social media. I’m gonna share this on my story on Instagram and that’s it. I did my part. And for me, defining performative activism or advocacy is that performative activism is the perception of allyship advocacy support with marginalized people yet only benefits the individual in their pursuit to be perceived as a good person. So in June, 2020, we saw a lot of folks who were that kind of hollow word you used. I love that word because we saw folks that were saying I’m listening and learning folks that were posting information about police brutality and how to push back.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (12:57):

But what we didn’t see was a lot of action behind that. A lot of folks were out protesting, which I commend, and that’s the big deal. That’s the action that we’re looking for. A lot of folks didn’t do that. A lot of folks only chose to do the minimum, which I think leans into that performative activism because that posting on Instagram and awareness, we talk about black boxes, right? Posting that black box on June 2nd, 2020 was important. And I think that awareness was huge. It was one of the biggest social media activism movements ever 28 million people posted to black square. It was important. Listening and learning is important. Thoughts and prayers are important, but if they don’t extend to that action, if they don’t extend to you pushing back against systems of oppression, if it doesn’t lead to change for people of color, then it’s hollow. And it is in turn performative. And that’s something that we saw at a different level in June, 2020. And I think a lot of that can be attributed to the times that we were in, in those moments.

Casey Cornelius (14:04):

I also think that, that what, you’re, what you’re talking about. Like, there’s, there’s a, there’s a layer to this as well. That there’s, there’s no other way, but for me to pull it back, right. So there maybe is a generational component to this too. Right. Where for previous generations talking about listening and learning or being colorblind or, or so like, that was, that was a step in the right direction. Like that was, that was good. And I think that the challenge might be is when folks see it as good enough. Right. And, and I think what I hear you saying is one it’s not good enough. Like it’s, it’s, it’s good. <Laugh> but it’s not, it’s not the end. So I guess I wanna ask you, I, I wanna put myself in the mindset of people who say this and, and get your response. Maybe we’ve gone too far in DEI work. Like, like we’ve done enough. Let’s stop here. Everything’s good. Now, what would your response to that be

Qy’Darrius McEachern (15:09):

My response. I’m sorry. I chuckle a little bit because I, I I’ve heard that before. And I think that it’s such a, it’s a really big statement to make. Whenever, if you look at let’s just take even anecdotally the state of the world that we look at now, I think that that to say that we’ve gone too far and that we’ve done enough around diversity equity occlusion is is a very difficult statement in the stomach. Whenever you look at the way that students of color are treated at college campuses across the country, you look at the amount of people who are killed black people who are killed by police every single year in this country. Whenever you look at the ways that individuals who are LGBTQ a plus that identify in that way, the way that they’re treated on our college campuses across the country.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (16:07):

I think that it’s very difficult for us to say that we have gone too far. Whenever you think about all the people who are experiencing those oppressions on a daily basis, even as far as you go as microaggressions or those individual daily slights that you feel from coworkers, from supervisors, from other peers, simply because of your identity. I feel like it is so difficult to say that we’ve gone too far. Whenever my response is that we have not gone far enough. I think that diversity equity, inclusion, justice focused mindsets need to be present in every single aspect of university life. That’s my personal opinion. And I would believe that other folks share that as well. So to answer like my perspective is that no, we have not gone too far. We haven’t gone far enough in terms of the way we think about in the kind of frequency that we think about diversity, equity inclusion, the lens that we’ve gone to create justice focus, approaches to education. I don’t think we’ve gone far enough. And the evidence is the people that are continuously impacted by the systems of oppression at universities across the country.

Casey Cornelius (17:19):

I agree wholeheartedly. And I hope that anyone who’s listening by the way recognizes the fact that sometimes my job is to ask questions that that I don’t necessarily agree with myself because I, I do want to get to these, these deeper like, like held positions, like where people, well, I’m, I’m comfortable having gone this far, but it’s really not about their comfort. It’s, it’s about, it’s about making a, a better campus community. It’s about making a, a better society. It’s about making a better world. And I know that that is your mission. Like, this is not just, I, I want to talk about this because it’s important. You, you truly do want there to be positive, long term change. I, I referenced something that, and I hope you don’t yell at me for this, but, but I, you know, I, I think it’s a superpower of yours and I’m just gonna, I’m gonna throw it out there. I referenced this idea of sort of a, a generational understanding Q you, you are young for the field. Would that be a, a fair way of saying it?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (18:23):

I think that’s fair. I think that’s fair.

Casey Cornelius (18:25):

All right. Do you think that that comes with certain pros and cons? Like the, the phrase imposter syndrome probably comes up everywhere as well. Like, wow. People are gonna think that I’m too young to, to have this stage or to be handed this mic. Is that something that you grapple with?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (18:43):

Absolutely. I think that it, it even takes a level of vulnerability to talk about this here, right. In this space. Just because I think that it’s something that folks my age in this field, right. Folks who are my, my peers, I think struggle with the being young in this space. And there’s been times where I felt like I have felt that imposter syndrome or I, I could also define it as like, just a level of resistance when folks hear about my age. Because I’m, I I’ve gone a long time too, of like, okay, I’m just not gonna tell anybody my age and let them assume. But I think for me, that level of resistance is either, oh, well, you’re too young to be doing DEI work. You need to have been doing this for years and years and years in order to have an impact, right.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (19:30):

Or to have a positive impact. You’re too young for DEI work or you’re how old, whenever I actually tell them how old I am with a sort of confused look, you know, the look Casey I do that that you kind of get and then I think folks hear me speak, or they’ll follow me on Instagram and say, wow, like you, you do know your stuff or you have, and even if I’ve been telling you that, like I prioritize diversity equity, inclusion, justice in my life so much, because it’s so important to me. And I think that it is so important to be impacting, especially in this space, right? Students across the country, faculty, staff of color, how are we impacting them in a positive way? So I would say that, I think some of my biggest battles I think, are, are internal in that space too, based on the spaces I’ve been in and being, and being in the room, right? You say stepping up to the might like being in the proverbial room with phenomenal people who I would consider phenomenal speakers, consultants, giants, if you will, in this space and fighting the urge to consistently really ask myself, why do I deserve to be here?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (20:40):

Do I deserve to be in this space? And that’s a challenge that I think that I battle, but I think me continuously prioritizing diversity equity, inclusion, justice in my life and in the work that I do continuously educating myself on a daily basis around how can we create more equitable and inclusive spaces for marginalized people and organizations and colleges across the country. Prioritizing that for me, has helped me push back against that resistance, that imposter syndrome. And I’m going to step into those spaces and, and really share what I know my experiences and the knowledge that I’ve garnered over the years that I have been prioritizing this work in my life. So I think that, I think the age is a really big thing for me. I think that it, it talking about this comes with a level of vulnerability as well. But I do think that there are some of those pros too, as well as it pertains to my age and the level of connectivity that I think I’m able to have with some college students that maybe others may not be able to have in that space. So for me, that’s a roundabout view of the challenge for me, but I also think that I’m learning to see it also as, as a huge, a huge, you say superpower. I say I say privilege that I’m able to have with the, with the student sometimes,

Casey Cornelius (22:05):

You know, I’m, I’m gonna continue to call it a superpower <laugh> because I, I think, I, I think, you know, if we’re talking about true inclusion, right, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I, I think we need to think about age as part of that conversation as well. And I think that you bring a perspective that is closer to the lived experiences of students that we’re serving. I, I, I think that that’s really important to say, look, you know, is it important to have someone with decades and decades of experience? Absolutely. That person belongs at the table too, but you know what, a hundred percent, and, and you’ve heard me say this before. There is no real table. Like the, the, the table can always be expanded. There’s, there’s always the opportunity to get more and new and, and dynamic voices to the conversation. And I remember when, when we, when we brought you on to the roster, a good friend sent me a message and said, oh, Q is the future.

Casey Cornelius (23:03):

And I, I shared it with you at the time. And I, I smiled, but I, I politely said to that friend, the future is now. And I think I’m, this goes without saying, but I’m so excited to see what you bring to these conversations. Because I know it’s, it’s the evolution and, and it’s, it’s, what’s going to happen next. And by the way, let’s, let’s have a little fun for a second one day. You’re gonna be the old guy at the table too. <Laugh> and there’s gonna be somebody looking at you going, like move over, sir. Right. And and I, I think that’ll be, that’ll be a fun experience too.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (23:39):

Yeah. And I think I, I do want to, just on that point, I think that that’s also so important as well, you know, for there, there have been so many people in this field that have kind of pulled that yourself included that have pulled pulled, pulled me into the table and pulled me into spaces that I may not have been in before, because in understanding what I bring to the space. And I think there’s so many folks like me who are younger in the space to have incredible, incredible things to say. And I think once we’re also at that level too, right, that we also bring other folks in who have new perspectives, new understandings connectivity with the student population that maybe we just don’t have at, at this point in a different way. You know what I mean? So I think that, I think that that’s a really important point as well. How are we kind of pulling ourselves up while bringing other people with us as well? So that’s something that I’m appreciative of, of a lot of people in, in kind of the speaking space.

Casey Cornelius (24:39):

I’m, I’m a big fan of the, the idea of a village too, right? Like you we’ve heard it, it, it takes a village Q you’ve got a, you’ve got a pretty significant village <laugh> on, on your side, do you want to talk a little bit about some of those folks and, and how they’ve been pivotable in your journey and, and, and people who have looked out for you along the way?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (25:02):

Absolutely. I, I say many a time that I would not be where I am at, at all without the village or the people around me. Whether it, if it goes back to my first time speaking, right, whenever I’m at that conference at Texas state university I’m thinking that I’m gonna have like 20 people show up 75 students show up to hear me speak for the first time at a Texas state leadership conference on microaggressions. And it was awesome to do it. Awesome. Sensational. And afterwards students coming up to me saying, so what’s your, we have a, we have an engagement that somebody fell out when we need you to speak tomorrow. What’s your speaker’s fee me having no idea what a speaker’s fee is. <Laugh> and then my supervisor, Bobowski telling me, don’t say anything, you’ll get back to them and talking me through the idea of how my thoughts, my knowledge, my intellectual quote, unquote property is valuable and that I shouldn’t just be giving it out for free.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (26:15):

Having people like that that were at the beginning telling me, you need to be making sure that you’re being compensated for the emotional labor and the inte intellectual property and knowledge that you’re bringing into a space folks like Nikki Ette, who were one who’s one of the first people to really invest in me and give me the space to speak to a lot of college students as well. I think about people who are like, we just talked about younger folks who are on kind of, kind of the same space as me. I would talk to like Alonzo Steve Lata, Grayson Robbie Miller there’s people that are doing incredible work in the field that I have now been able to connect myself with. And we’re able to really challenge each other as well in the ways that we think the knowledge bases that we want to garner the spaces that we wanna step into.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (27:08):

I think about all these folks who are you talk about a big village. I think that it’s important for us to have individuals that are supporting us and challenging us folks that are giving us new perspectives and also challenging the ones that we have. I think that that’s so important for us to have a village and for us to also be a part of other people’s villages, how are we helping them? How are we supporting them? How are we challenging thoughts? And then also providing support on the back end? So I have, I have a big village and I’m really appreciative to every single person. That’s a part of it. And I challenge a lot of folks and everybody who’s listening to this to think about who’s who’s in your village. And even at some level more importantly, whose village are you a part of?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (27:51):

Who are you feeding into? Who are you challenging? Who are you continuously making better? Because all the work that we do, especially in this space is for the students, it’s for the faculty, it’s for the staff, how are we contributing to that space? So yeah, that’s, that’s my village also, I’d be Remis if I did not also mention my wife who has been the biggest supporter and the biggest challenger and supporting me, and then also challenging the things that I, that I think sometimes are the ways that I approach things is continuously making me better. So I think that that whole village approach is really, really important to me. Who’s are you a part of, and who’s a part of yours

Casey Cornelius (28:34):

Very important to shout out your significant other that’s a, your, your life partner. Also a lot of good people you just named. I wanna pause for just a second on one, there is a Bob Alki fan club out there. He has, we, we chatted one time about, he has a pretty expansive what we might call family tree in the field. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and what a, what an elite level human being. Huh?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (29:01):

Incredible. Bob is one of my favorite people in the world. One of my favorite people in the world.

Casey Cornelius (29:06):

Well, that, that tells me that you have good taste. Could, can we talk for just a second about the intersection between some of these things you, Bob, Texas state so forth. Absolutely. can you tell me about your experience F beta Sigma fraternity incorporated? You recognize yourself as a proud member. Absolutely. And I just wanted to chat a little bit about what that experience has been for you.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (29:30):

Absolutely. I, I consider joining five beta Sigma fraternity incorporated, one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made in my life. I think that five beta Sigma has given me so much. And it’s also provided me the space to, when you talk about the village, right. Folks who are going to support you and challenge you on a consistent basis. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> there is a lot of, there’s a lot of pieces around fraternity, right? There was, before I joined my fraternity, I would consider myself in some ways still consider myself very introverted. Not the person that’s gonna step up to the mic and, and speak,

Casey Cornelius (30:12):

Right? No one would believe this, by the way, like, this is, this is, this is not, this is not what people assume when, when they first meet you, go

Qy’Darrius McEachern (30:19):

Ahead. Got you. Yeah, no, that’s fair. That’s fair. But this is who I was before and my junior year of, of college. I joined five, be cinema fraternity incorporated, and just, I think that it was so pivotal for me in finding my voice and my, my line brother, who is one of, one of my most favorite people in the world, truly a brother to me someone who we’re able to go through life together and support and challenge each other in that space. He was one of those people that helped me find my voice. And that’s something that five beta Sigma gave me. Another thing is just continuously finding and pushing that passion for social justice is huge for me and something that five beta Sigma holds near and dear. I think that being a part of the fraternity has also challenged me and stepping into a lot of these spaces, you know, having a community of brothers that are continuously uplifting me, challenging me folks that I will meet at a V for example, at a V central that are sigmas that are now folks that I’m able to connect with consistently.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (31:27):

If I have questions, thoughts, concerns, you know, those people that are able to both uplift you and challenge you, as I’ve said five beta Sigma means a lot to me. And I continuously try to think about ways that I can both continue to give back to the fraternity and really live that mission of culture for service service, for humanity. Cuz that’s something that is near and dear to me as well. So a lot, if you hear me speak, if you look at my programs, if you talk to me in passing, you’ll see a lot of the kind of through lines between the fraternity and me. And I think that’s because of how much reverence I have for five beta Sigma. And it’s honestly one of the best decisions of my life to, to join this brotherhood.

Casey Cornelius (32:17):

You know, you used the phrase a few times and it really resonated with me that is uplift and challenge. Yep. And I, I get sort of maybe you call it nerdy about fraternity, but certainly sentimental about fraternity, not just my, my own fraternity affiliation, but fraternity in general, I think fraternity has done a really job at the uplifting part. Yeah. Like, you know, historically a really good job at the uplifting part. I think sometimes where we can get better is the challenging part, right? Challenging one another to be a better version of ourselves today than we were yesterday and a better version tomorrow than we are today. And it, it sounds like for you, that that through line that you talk about is one that will continue forever. Am, am I, am I hearing that right?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (33:09):

Absolutely. It will continue. It will continue forever. I’m I mean, I’m also, I’m a part of five beta Sigma for turning incorporated for life. Whenever I joined it was for life. And I think that that level of uplifting and challenging me and then me uplifting and challenging not only my brothers, but the fraternity to be better. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> I think that that is, I think that that is a consistent thing and that through line is for life and that’s something that I’m so I’m so appreciative of

Casey Cornelius (33:38):

You. I love it. Listen, if, if you’ve enjoyed this conversation with Q, wanna learn more about his programs, his consulting services and, and so forth, please visit for college for We’ve made it easy for you. You can also visit for college for areas. However you can also do slash Q and find all the information that you’re looking for. Q can I get you outta here on a few fun, rapid fire questions?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (34:03):

Oh yeah, let’s do it.

Casey Cornelius (34:05):

Okay. All right. So the first one, and this is hypothetical, cuz I know how busy you are. I, I know you got a lot of things going on in, in your life, but if you had an entire day to binge watch anything, what would you choose?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (34:21):

Ah, man. Okay. For me, for me, I think that if I had the whole day I would binge watch the office. Okay. And I say that because whenever I was in undergrad, I got really into the office. Like I’ve seen the office through all the way through all the seasons, like six times. Wow. And I, yeah I’m both proud and not proud of that at the same time

Casey Cornelius (34:46):

You start adding up the hours and you’re like, wait, how many years of my life. Yeah,

Qy’Darrius McEachern (34:50):

Exactly. But I think that’s what I would watch it all. There’s also a level of nostalgia. Right. Because I also have a lot of great memories with friends just hanging around, hanging around in a dorm room, watching the office. There’s a lot of nostalgia behind that as well. So I think that that would be, that would be the piece. That would be the thing that I would binge for the whole day happily

Casey Cornelius (35:11):

That’s I, I, I would consider that a, a top choice. No, no doubt about it. The office cute. What’s the most used app on your phone?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (35:19):

The most used app on my phone is, is probably Instagram. It’s probably Instagram. I think that I think that social media is a really, is a really interesting tool. I know I talk a lot about it in my sessions around performative activism, but it can be also, so social media can also be a really good space for education and understanding whenever you’re connected to the right sources through the, through the platform. So I follow many different activists, advocates, social justice educators on Instagram. And so I utilize it for that piece. I also utilize it to stay connected with folks across the country, across the world. And I also post on there too, and I share a lot of stuff. So I think that I, I probably use Instagram the most, a close second would be the notes app because I capture so much of my thoughts just in a running note <laugh> and so I don’t like to lose a thought and I used to do that a lot. So notes app is probably a close second just for capturing flee fleeting thoughts in my head,

Casey Cornelius (36:29):

You know, I’m, I’m putting everybody else on notice like the, the Instagram one. Okay. Like I, I think everyone could get that, but the notes app is completely underrated. Isn’t it?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (36:39):

Oh yeah. 100%. 100%.

Casey Cornelius (36:42):

All right. I love it. I love it. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (36:49):

I think for me, I would most like to have dinner with my grandmother. My grandmother was someone who amazing woman. She was the matriarch of the family. She passed away early my sophomore year of, of college early my sophomore year. And there’s just so many pieces. She was so proud of me before she passed. Right. there were so many pieces that she got to see and there’s so many that she hasn’t been able to see the person I’ve become the confidence that I have, the self-esteem that I’ve been able to build. The people I’m connected to. I think that for me, that she would be the person I would wanna have dinner with just to show her who like who she raised. This is the man who, who you put so much time and energy into. And I think that that would be the person for me, hands down that I would want to spend hours with over dinner, just talking about where I am and show her who I’ve become.

Casey Cornelius (37:55):

I’m gonna go out on a very easy limb, my friend, and say that she is proud. No doubt about it.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (38:01):

So I appreciate that.

Casey Cornelius (38:03):

That’s, that’s beautiful. Q what do you do to wind down? Do you have any sort of rituals or things that, that cue to your mind like, Hey, we’ve been busy, but now we do this. It’s time to wind down and relax for the day.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (38:16):

Yes, for me, one is I listen to music. Music for me is, is not just something that I like. I do love it, but it also grounds me in a way that nothing else does. Right. So no matter what I’m listening to if I put my headphones on and I’m able to just sit that helps me for like the day just wind down. I also have recently started. So I used to do a little bit of running when I was in college and early grad school and then pandemic hit. And I got away from a lot of it. But now I’ve started walking every day. Whether it’s the middle of the day, whether it’s later in the evening, just as a space to one, get outside and breathe. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> but also another way of really centering myself for the day as well. This is something that I’ve also found myself doing before I speak as well, listening to music or going for a walk around campus, or if it’s a virtual session going outside and just walking for a little while before starting because I, I found out that it’s, it’s such a great way for me to center myself, be grounded and be prepared for whatever the next thing is. So for me, that’s, that’s what it is for me. That’s what I do.

Casey Cornelius (39:37):

I love it. So folks, if, if you schedule cue for your campus, don’t be surprised if after sound check is done, he’s like, Hey, I need 10 minutes. I need to walk around a little bit. This is this process. This is this

Qy’Darrius McEachern (39:51):


Casey Cornelius (39:51):

I hear you. Excellent. All right, final question. We’ll get you outta here on it. How can listeners best connect with you?

Qy’Darrius McEachern (39:58):

Oh, for me, I, I talked about Instagram. That’s probably one way you can connect with me through direct message at McKay speaks, M C E a C H E R N S P E a K S. On Instagram, I respond to direct messages really fast. You can also connect with me through email at info, Hern Either either way I’m very receptive to, to be connected.

Casey Cornelius (40:28):

And, and by the way, I, I just want to confirm that Q’s not one there’s people who has somebody else running his social media or anything like that. If you send him a DM, he’s going to be the one who’s responding to you. I don’t, I don’t wanna pull back the curtain on anybody in any industries or anything like that, but sometimes yeah, they’re not the ones actually hitting, hitting send on the message. So mm-hmm, <affirmative> you, I have to say this was, this was a lot of fun today. It was a lot of fun to, to get to know more about you, your message, your journey and, and so forth. I’m, I’m so excited and I’ve, I know I’ve said this to you privately, but I’m gonna do it publicly here as well. I’m so excited for what you’re contributing to the conversation in the DEI space, the justice belonging space. And I, I really look forward to, to what you’re going to accomplish in the years to come.

Qy’Darrius McEachern (41:17):

Absolutely. I really appreciate that. And I’m excited. I’m excited for where this goes as well.

Casey Cornelius (41:21):

Great folks again, if you wanna learn more about Q both speaking and consulting please go ahead, check there for, for all information, otherwise really want to thank you for, for spending your time with us. If you found this episode beneficial, exciting, interesting. Please share it, please also like, and subscribe and go ahead and give us a rating on your favorite platform. It really, really matters. And also as an additional request as we continue to create this content, if there’s anything specifically that you would like to hear if there’s topics that you would like us to talk about specific programs, maybe combination of speakers coming to the mic together please don’t hesitate to let us know. We always want to deliver something that you find valuable as well. So with that said, my guess is that the music is going to start playing here sometime. And until next time we chat, I really appreciate you stay well. And we look forward to chatting with you soon. Thanks everybody.

Qy’Darrius (Q) McEachern | | @mceachernspeaks

Q is a national speaker + consultant who strives to make his audiences feel positively uncomfortable during speaking engagements/consultations, as he believes that this is a learning feeling that drives growth + change. Q helps organizations and communities take meaningful steps towards fostering true belonging through justice-focused work. He is a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and lives in Fuquay-Varina, NC with his partner & eight-month old son.

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