Zaria Karakashian-Jones, a second-year student at North Shore Community College, is a student leader who is passionate about social justice. Zaria believes that everyone deserves to be recognized, represented and have a seat at the proverbial table. Through a grassroots effort, Zaria organized her hometown’s inaugural Juneteenth event in 2020. She has led and executed several initiatives at NSCC, including the formation of the SISTERS organization. The SISTERS organization was founded due to the racial injustice from 2020 through 2021. SISTERS was created as a safe space for women of color, particularly Black and Latina, to come to together to advocate and support one another. As the current President of the Student Government Association and Phi Theta Kappa, Zaria has had the challenge of leading these organizations during a global pandemic. Despite this challenge, Zaria is committed to engaging and representing the student voice. Zaria is a serious student who sees her academic preparation not only as a completion of a degree but, more importantly, preparation for becoming a person of integrity, one who appreciates difference and one who remains attentive to the world in which she lives.
Diversity, equity and inclusion have been at the forefront of every decision I have made. From my first social justice act in high school organizing a student-led walk out to protest ongoing racial inequalities in education, to organizing my hometown’s first Juneteenth event. As a black queer woman, I understand the intersectionality and importance of being seen and represented in all of one’s identities. It is important that everyone has representation so that everyone's voice can be heard and amplified at the highest level. At NSCC, I have had the opportunity to use my voice and further push the boundaries for what people like me can do for their communities and beyond. I am a founding member of NSCC’s SISTERS program, which serves as a safe space for women of color, particularly Black and Latina students. I am also the President for Phi Theta Kappa and the Student Government Association. My career aspirations include going to law school and continuing to use my voice and advocacy for those who are not heard. I believe that an opportunity to become a Newman Civic Fellow will award me an endless amount of opportunities and support to continue my work in social justice.