What has your chapter done to help your local community and/or beyond?
"Our chapter became acquainted with Border Angels at the Fall State activism fair, a non-profit humanitarian group working at the US-Mexico border. We learned that the pandemic had made humanitarian efforts more necessary yet made donations more scarce. At the one-day chapter conference we hosted, the recommended admissions fee of $5-10 was donated to Border Angels.
Beyond that effort, our most important goal as a chapter has been to provide the most wholesale, diverse, and formative JSA experience to the Loyola community. Besides the regular weekly debates and thought-talks for the chapter, Loyola collaborates with six other chapters (both established chapters and new ones) to host events for new and returning members. We offered discourse on gun rights, racial justice, the covid-19 pandemic, the electoral college, nationalism, and the 2020 election through these cross-community activities.
We also held a letter-writing workshop, letters-to-your-representative campaign, a debate workshop, a virtual debate watch party, and perhaps most significantly, a socially distanced on-campus watch party for the final presidential debate."
How has your chapter been active as representatives of JSA?
"Many significant issues have arisen during this global pandemic, and as a representative of JSA, our chapter has done our best to address them. During the escalations of conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and in recognition of the impact those events had on our Armenian fellow JSAers, our letter-writing campaign with Santa Monica JSA included writing to representatives to pass H.Res.1165, condemning Azeri aggression in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and Turkey’s interference.
During the height of the racial justice protests in early summer, our chapter co-hosted an open forum on the Black Lives Matter protests to allow students to speak openly about their experiences and for other students to listen and learn. Lastly, though small, our chapter Instagram and chapter officers represent Loyola’s allyship and reshare relevant posts made by The Junior State of America, to help share awareness and activism posts with our audience."
How does your chapter work to increase participation and spread awareness of JSA?
"Nationally, Loyola has fundraised $2,000 for JSA as the second top fundraising team. And locally, our chapter expansion effort has included a two-minute promotional video for Loyola’s club fair, asking teachers of all subjects to promote JSA to their students and giving presentations to more than fifteen classes of various teachers and grade levels. As a result, our chapter has grown from 18 to 42 members over the course of the semester. Our holiday chapter conference, with keynote speaker US Congressman Jimmy Gomez, brought non-JSA students, prospective JSA-ers, and newly joined members to the organization. In total, the conference brought in students from 24 different schools.
Lastly, despite the size of Loyola and digital limitations, our chapter has succeeded in gaining a high level of recognition for JSA at Loyola: Our members have written political articles and articles about JSA for the school newspaper, for example, and we worked with the administration early this year more than ever to ensure COVID-safety at our on-campus watch party."
How does your chapter encourage the non-partisan aspect of JSA to help students feel comfortable to speak and to be active?
"Our chapter hosted a debate with Loyola’s Young Conservatives Club and invited their members to attend the keynote address of our chapter conference, to diversify our discourse and ensure that our discussions never become one-sided. Our letter-writing workshop, naturally, was designed to help JSA students feel comfortable speaking up and making a difference in the political world."