April has a gift for inviting those around her into conversation and dialogue, and has become an influential student leader on our campus. April serves as an officer in Plexus, Umoja, and the Juniata Christian Fellowship. In an effort to make Juniata College more inclusive, she is also currently working to form a Black Student Union organization on campus. Since her arrival in 2016, April has advocated widely for social justice. For example, during her first year, she was instrumental to the campus "die in" event that protested police brutality against people of color. She also served on the team that coordinated Juniata's 2018 "National School Walk-Out" to demand stricter gun control legislation to help reduce gun violence. She also organized a campus wide teach-in in response to a racist display on campus and collaborated with the student groups who organized the "We Stand with Survivors" campus event. In each of these major campus events April has been a catalyst to bring disparate voices and perspectives towards consensus to achieve important goals. April has been deeply engaged in collaborative action around issues of inequality, and her commitment and vision have been instrumental in leading us towards meaningful change.
My understanding of the need to advocate for why black and brown lives matter deepened after the killing of Trevon Martin in 2012. At a young age I was trying to reconcile how someone my age, who looked similar to me could be killed because of the color of his skin. I made a commitment to advocate for change. I started by joining my high school's poetry team and used my voice, through poetry, to bring awareness to why young black and brown lives matter. In college I have been able to use my skills and knowledge to bring together people of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and religions to talk about difficult issues of race and injustice. As a student assistant in the Unity House, which encompasses Campus Ministry and The Office of Equity Diversity and Inclusion, I have voice in organizing events intended to educate students, faculty and staff on a variety of issues, and create spaces for dialogue on those issues. I find great satisfaction in this work. Change is and has always been in me, and I have made a commitment to take action, using my voice to inspire others and to speak for those whose voices go unheard.