Devon Player, a 3rd year student at Whitman College, is extraordinary in her broad and immersive community leadership. For the past three years, she has demonstrated a thoughtful and intentional approach to learning about the Walla Walla community and she works towards building and maintaining positive, mutually beneficial relationships with community partners such as Blue Mountain Action Council (BMAC) and Blue Zones Project. Her community work has been centered around social justice issues of equity and access. She invites her peers into engagement opportunities both on and off campus. She asks important questions about the root causes behind social injustices that she encounters and seeks opportunities to address these injustices in positive ways. As a Sociology major, she connects what she is learning in the classroom with action in the community. Devon is currently working to organize Whitman College volunteers alongside key community partners to ensure that our community is aligned and working together for equitable access to adequate food resources for everyone.
Growing up in a predominantly white community as a woman of color, made me acutely aware of racial inequality from a young age. I think, at a foundational level, those experiences are what fostered my interest in community engagement and social justice. Prior to my first week of school at Whitman, I participated in a pre-orientation program that introduced me to incredibly influential people and organizations in the Walla Walla community. Since then, I have continued to work with many of those same organizations to address issues of community health, racial inequality, and food injustice. Currently, I am a co-leader of a new program at our school that works closely with the Blue Mountain Action Council to support their work addressing food insecurity in the Walla Walla Valley. Seeing how COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities specifically related to racial oppression and food insecurity is one of the biggest reasons I have been so energized to get involved in antiracist and food justice oriented initiatives in the communities I am a part of. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue supporting the amazing work being done in Walla Walla and connect with the next cohort of Newman Civic Fellows!