In my role on the Engage Lead Serve Board this year, something that I wanted to focus on was stories. I think that storytelling is one of the best ways to enact social change. Stories make others stop and listen which in turn causes them to feel what it is like in someone else’s shoes. Being the Equality and Justice committee, our mission is to introduce stories that make people stop and listen to the greater community. These stories that we share should be ones of diversity, achievement, inclusion, trailblazing. These stories should introduce our community to people unlike themselves. We want to provide opportunities for others to learn about those different from themselves in a safe space. I believe that a lot of our events have done this, and I am proud of the work that our committee has done so far this year.
This spring semester, we’ve hosted a poetry reading night and a panel discussion with authors of color. The poetry reading night is an annual event put on by the Equality and Justice committee called Somewhere In America. Last year, this event was held at the Cardinal Lounge. There were cozy chairs and yummy treats, but with Covid, this was not possible. We tried to make the event feel as comfortable and safe as it felt last year. Moyo, my committee co-director, had this amazing idea to utilize Jamboard. This platform allowed people to collaboratively reflect on the poems they heard. We were nervous that people wouldn’t want to do this, especially publicly, but they did! People were reflecting on topics such as therapy, religion, family relationships, and gender roles. I was surprised with how open and real everyone was. Since it was a virtual event, I didn’t think that people would feel as though they were in a safe space, but I was oh so glad to be proven wrong.
The panel discussion with the two authors of color went very well. We had a romance writer and a fantasy writer talk with us. I personally love to read and rather enjoy those two genres, so I was really looking forward to this event. In the end, I think that we had a great discussion about the writing and publishing industry and the work that still needs to be done in order to improve the equity for and diversity of writers. We were also able to give away 6 copies of the authors’ books, which was amazing to be able to do. I loved this event so much, and I am so grateful to the authors for coming and speaking with us. I learned so much, especially since I am an aspiring writer/publisher. It’s amazing how the Engage Lead Serve Board has let me plan events that benefit the community while still matching up with passions! I have never felt as welcomed and supported as I do by ELSB.
We are having a pretty good semester so far from our two events to creating Valentine’s Day goodie bags for the kiddos at Family Scholar House. We’ve been able to still do a lot of good despite Covid, and my only hope is that we are affecting people in a positive way during this crazy, turbulent time. I know that many people are getting burnout and feeling tired of staring at screens, but I still feel a passion for ELSB and I know that my fellow board members feel the exact same way. (-:
Equality and Justice Committee Co-Director 2020-2021
Equality and Justice embodies the dedication to achieve community-, campus-, and nation-wide social equality and justice through intriguing events and excellent service.