Jessica DiMeglio, a junior communication major at La Salle University, is a student leader active in issues of social justice. Jessica came to La Salle with an impressive history of service and community outreach, and has expanded on that during her time at La Salle. As a freshman, Jessica began working with the University’s Pheed Philadelphia program, a food insecurity and hunger awareness program that works at two community kitchens five days a week. Now coordinating this program, she oversees the University’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and Hunger Banquet. Jessica also serves as a volunteer and student leader with Touch A Child’s Heart, a non-profit organization based in Nyeri, Kenya. Additionally, Jessica works to help other recognize and break down the barriers that divide our society. During this time of COVID, Jessica created a program to send hundreds of letters to incarcerated individuals across the country as part of the University’s holiday events series. Jessica actively encourages members of the La Salle community to become aware and involved in issues of social and economic justice.
The work I’ve done within different communities has always been driven by an innate curiosity about people and the experiences that make us who we are. Through several different immersion trips and experiences in high school I began to realize that society, at least American society, is preferential to sharing stories of people of privilege, and intentionally disparaging marginalized communities. With any “service” I do, whether volunteering in local community kitchens, tutoring kids from neighboring communities surrounding La Salle, or writing letters to incarcerated artists across the country, I am constantly learning; learning stories of the people I’m working with, learning new ways to reimagine what social justice can look like, learning new ways to use my privilege, the list goes on! My experiences of working with and alongside marginalized communities has been a learning experience. I think that it will always be that way. I don’t have a concrete idea of what I want to do with my life in terms of a career, but the one thing I know for certain is that I want my life to be a continuous practice of radical empathy, of connection, and of taking my privilege to raise voices and share stories.