From the president
A second-year student at Hamline University, Jessalin Dock-Barnes’ mission is to create safe spaces for kids of color to be equipped and supported so that they can help fight unjust societal structures and to close socio-economic gaps. Jessalin has started this journey by participating in civic engagement at the Irreducible Grace Foundation’s Black Youth Healing Arts Center in Saint Paul, MN. Inspired by their work, she plans to work for holistic healing spaces that offer free therapy, afterschool programs, and care-centered, community-building activities that support kids and their families. She dreams of developing urban gardens where food is grown, harvested, and taken home to eat as a way to grow relationships and build habits for healthy living. As an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) tutor and paraprofessional in her local school district, Jessalin works with children that are in need of the spaces she envisions. This past December, she began working with a group of students to advocate for teaching Black history and minority history in schools, specifically to push for a required class in ethnic studies within their district.
I started to become involved in racial justice work when George Floyd was murdered. I attended protests for the first time and the experience of protesting against police violence, especially against the Black community and those in poverty, jump started my desire to address these issues on social media to help reach others. As I continued on my path in college, I took criminal justice courses and my passion for working for racial justice in all areas became stronger. As a Wesley Center Senior Spirituality Scholar at Hamline University, I have had the opportunity to bring awareness to our campus community about homelessness, immigration, and racial injustice in a way that connects to shared deep values across different religious and spiritual traditions. In my position as an AVID tutor and paraprofessional in my local school system, I engage kids with researching and learning about minority history, the School-To-Prison Pipeline, and systematic racism. Through our work together, the kids are using this information to advocate for Ethnic Studies within the required curriculum. They engage peer-to-peer education by creating videos on topics we have researched and getting their peers involved in making and sharing videos with other kids in their communities.