Kassina Dwyer, a second-year student at Loyola University Maryland, is an active student leader and community organizer that continuously looks for ways to create long-term social change by connecting Loyola's campus with our Baltimore City community. Although her end goal is to dismantle structural racism, while at Loyola, she has been a leader in organizations such as the Center for Community Service + Justice, Black Student Association, and Student Government Association which help her directly address problems of racism and inequality on campus. Off campus, Kassina has worked tirelessly alongside grassroots community organizers from Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Equity Matters, and Baltimore Racial Justice Action. By engaging others in critical conversations on race and equity on campus and off, Kassina's commitment to advancing racial and social justice on our campus and in our Baltimore community is inspiring to fellow students, university leadership, and community partners. Kassina is a visionary servant leader who will continue to dedicate herself to building bridges to end racism and to create change on our campus, in our city, and in our world.
Growing up, I would ask my teachers, neighbors, and friends: where do I belong? I constantly questioned aspects of my identity: my coiled hair, skin tone, Jamaican accent, family's Rastafarian roots and how I fit into the predominantly white social space I lived in. Nonetheless, I came to understand the effects of structural racism and social justice issues, and through this awareness, found myself called to action. By being a leader in my community, I am able to expand my compassion for individuals of all walks of life. As a result, I have served as a mentor and leader with the purpose of helping others understand their own identity. I made it my duty to work with my fellow students of color to improve the Loyola University Maryland campus experience for marginalized students by holding the university accountable and demanding the implementation of racial justice training. I also hold myself and other student leaders accountable by creating safe spaces on campus through my position as Vice President of the Black Student Association. Although my work is not done, I will continue to create spaces where all people can feel loved, empowered, and be their authentic selves.