Naudia Loftis, a junior majoring in Communications and Digital Media, is an advocate and agent of social change focused on seeking an end to gun violence. Naudia is a member of the Arrupé Scholars Program, an academic scholarship program training students with the skills and abilities to be leaders for social change and advocates for justice. In the aftermath of the shooting death of 12-year-old local Clevelander, Tamir Rice, Naudia got involved in efforts to create new safe spaces for youth and is currently interning with the Tamir Rice Foundation. She works closely with Tamir Rice's mother, Samaria Rice, to develop the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center which will serve youth in Cleveland advancing juvenile rights through cultural and educational programs. She served on the executive board of Black Students in Action. She currently serves as a Student Liaison through John Carroll's Center for Service and Social Action, where she leads other JCU students in weekly service placements, facilitates reflection, and strengthens community partnerships. Naudia has distinguished herself as a remarkable campus and community leader.
My passion for social justice began at a young age. Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio I witnessed a lot of violence. After losing multiple family members and friends to violence, I figured I had to step up. At the age of 17, I began organizing marches and rallies in my city to bring people together. I gathered information and presented my findings to the community and started having discussions about how we could help better our city. From there, I began speaking at local high schools and middle schools to children who were also affected by gun violence. I created a documentary based around kids in my neighborhood and the change we wanted to see as a whole. My work has resulted in state level recognition from Ohio Senator John Kasich and the Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Award from the Kennedy family. I currently work for the Tamir Rice Foundation (Tamir was a 12-yr old victim of gun violence) as a personal assistant to his mother as she develops Tamir's Afrocentric Cultural Center for Children in Cleveland. Social justice and advocacy are a major part of my life and I plan to continue my efforts throughout my future endeavors.