On June 29, 2023, the Supreme Court rejected affirmative action in university admission decisions, dealing a significant blow to race-based consideration in college admissions; shifting the educational landscape. This ruling has sparked renewed discussions about the complexities of achieving a truly equitable and inclusive educational system.
By declining to uphold affirmative action, the Court ruling disproportionately affects individuals from undeserved communities who are first-generation or low-income, as it potentially diminishes their opportunities to overcome systemic barriers and secure a place in higher education.
So often, we just accept that money, power, and privilege are perfectly justifiable forms of affirmative action, while kids growing up as I did are expected to compete when the ground is anything but level.
Jacqui’s unique perspective as a first-gen college student and education major serves as a lens through which we can understand the impact and importance of education for future generations as we navigate this evolving landscape. By embracing the values of empowerment, we can strive towards a future where education becomes a transformative force, empowering individuals from all backgrounds to reach their full potential and work towards a more inclusive and equitable educational ecosystem.
Jacqui: I want to become an English high school teacher and I’m also passionate about social work and want to go into family law one day, so writing will be important in my journey. I’m gaining the skills to write well through articulation in ways that are helpful for everyone. I’m also learning how to analyze, dissect, and respond to difficult texts and subjects in a creative and academic manner. I also love to read and write for fun.
LP: Are you a 1st generation college student? If yes, what’s one word that would describe how you felt entering your first year of college?
LP: What does empowerment mean or feel like to you?
Jacqui: Empowerment means that I’m able to show up as my authentic self without feeling self-conscious about what others may think… I’m able to spread my confidence and optimism to others around me.
LP: What’s something you wish you knew as an incoming freshman?
Jacqui: There’s so much freedom and responsibility that having a set routine for yourself is key.
LP: How has your experience as a Lion’s Pride Big/Little impacted your feelings of leadership and empowerment throughout your college experience?
Jacqui: …through understanding the importance of managing mental health within education. Also, I’m able to learn from my mistakes and obstacles without feeling ashamed which helps me to support others better when navigating their obstacles.
LP: What advice would you give to those transitioning into college?
Jacqui: Always explore and reach out for resources when you need help!
LP: What support systems do you feel incoming students could benefit from to overcome challenges and obstacles they may face during their transition into college, and how could this contribute to their overall feelings of empowerment?
Jacqui: Joining extracurricular that pertain to your identity(ies) and/or major is imperative because you’ll be able to be surrounded by those who can relate to you in particular ways. Also, you can diversify your circle to learn more about the culture and community. Creating relationships with your professors is helpful because the rapport you build with them creates a strong foundation for trust and is an easy way to network.
LP: As an education minor, what are some things you’ve learned that impact your feelings towards the importance of education?
Jacqui: As an education minor, learning about the school-to-prison nexus (STPN), which means the school system and carceral system is the same, impacted my feelings about the importance of education. I want to be an advocate, champion, and resource for disenfranchised students who are vulnerable to the STPN. Upon this, learning about the white, supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy (WSCP) funded my passions. The WSCP helped me to understand that schooling [can be] a system and systemic oppression and racism can hinder and damage underrepresented students in ways that are perpetuating children and their families to fall victim to systems such as the STPN. Lastly, the book and term Pushout by Monique W. Morris was important because I got to explore the ways I can be an agent for change for young Blacks who are dehumanized and “pushed out” of the system as a Black woman educator.
Q: What’s your ‘go-to’ meal while in college?
Q: If you could create one law for people to follow, what would it be?
JL: Absolutely no violence of any kind.
Q: Favorite summer activity to do in Chicago?
JL: Find different food places to try, especially downtown
Q: If you could have a superpower related to education, what would it be and why?
JL: Be able to solve my future student’s mental and emotional blockages in the classroom.
Q: If you could have dinner with any historical figure, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
JL: I would have dinner with Sojourner Truth because she’d have historical context about what it means to be an African American and woman’s rights activist. I’d also want to hear her wisdom about triumphing through the woes of what it means to be a Black woman in America and what it means to constantly be put in a position of being the protector but not protected. It would be beautiful to hear what kept her optimistic.
*For additional resources and organizations who have been advocating for this cause, check out: