Numerous Spartans signed a banner as they entered school in early February, answering the invitation from fellow students like Jacobi and Tanner Jackson (shown below) as well as the question, “How will you commit to justice this year?”
The banner signing is one of several efforts organized by student leaders and Director of Diversity and Inclusion Catalina Martinez. “This year, Black History Month has been planned by a committed group of seniors: Black Student Union officers Marquis Govan, Tanner Jackson, and Deandra Smith, and inclusion advocates Cullen Rooney and Liam Weishaar,” said Ms. Martinez. “They have planned activities that revolve around the theme of ‘At De Smet Jesuit we value black lives and commit to justice.’”
This slogan and call to action will be displayed on t-shirts sold online here, (granting two dress down days in February) and on the banner where community members pledged what they will do to commit to justice throughout the year. Several of these commitments are also being featured on the school’s social media platforms throughout the month and showcased here.
In addition, Tanner Jackson ’21 researched quotes from historical figures and modern day activists who work to end systemic racism, which are read during daily announcements as well as displayed around school. Monopoly games (with a twist) will also be held, followed by guided discussions that will address how power relations influence the agency of different socioeconomic groups, and how this can induce poverty and inequality.
Signatures and personal pledges crowd the banner that now hangs in Emerson Lobby, a promising display by the De Smet Jesuit community.
“Including everyone in the building and looking at the wider issue of justice was important for these students,” added Ms. Martinez. “I am proud of their efforts.”