D’Ajahnae (Aji) Croft, a second year student at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, is an exceptional student leader focused on building awareness for and addressing issues of racial injustice. As a member of our Black Student Union’s executive board, Aji has been a powerful voice on campus ensuring that moments of national attention on racial inequities are heard and felt in the discourse of the college. She also serves her community in numerous ways as the College and External Affairs Chair for Illinois College’s Student Senate, inclusion in the IC Scholars Honors Program, and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta. Aji is hard at work academically as well, taking her commitment to social justice into the classroom as a high school teacher once she completes her studies.
When I was younger, I rarely paid attention to social justice and equality issues. It wasn’t until I got to high school that I really started to acknowledge and care about these issues. I now do all that I can to advocate for marginalized groups and stand up to injustices. Too often than not, we watch individuals get off on crimes that would have a BIPOC jailed. It breaks my heart and I’m determined to make change within this country. I’ve started realistic and small with efforts for equality within my own college campus. I’ve organized marches that helped everyone unite under a common goal. I like to be in front of the fight. I don’t do this for the attention or praise. I lead because there are people who so desperately want to, but can’t. I lead because I want to see change happen in my lifetime. I lead because it is my passion to help others. I can still hear my elementary teachers telling my parents how I would always become the second teacher in the room. There is a fire inside of me that aspires to do the work for those who can’t do it for themselves.