As discussions of racism have sparked across the country, Fletcher Academy senior Hannah Taylor wanted to join the conversation.
“As the world began to experience turmoil in direct relation to the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, I began to feel passionate about the need to fight for justice,” Taylor said.
Taylor created a group chat titled “Make Change To Be Change,” inviting many students to a Zoom meeting to discuss the topic of racism and injustice within Adventist education. As the meeting ended, she had the idea to form a separate group focused on research to support those who were actively advocating on social media. Lila Odhiambo, mass communication sophomore; Kaitlyn Deux, social work sophomore; and Erik Lorenz, history senior, are current students at Southern. They are three of the eight students who joined this second group and became co-founders of “The Redemancy Project.”
According to the group’s Instagram, The Redemancy Project exists “to promote an anti-racist culture within the Seventh-day Adventist schools.” Their vision is to spread awareness of racism within Adventist institutions and offer solutions on how to diversify and educate students and faculty alike.
In June, The Redemancy Project reached out to alumni and students of Fletcher Academy and asked if they would be willing to share testimonies about their experience with racism while attending the school. Their experiences, along with a call for a more diverse faculty, celebration of Black History Month and stronger awareness of racism within the school, were then put in a letter that was presented to the administration,
The letter was sent with over one hundred signatures from students and alumni and was well received by the administration, according to the Redemancy Project founders.
“I had never seen so many alumni come together to do something this quickly,” Deux said. “It was incredible to see the work that was put into this.”
As school resumes, Taylor hopes to continue the mission even though many of the members will be attending different schools.
“My personal dream is to grow this organization to include even more students from a greater variety of schools to push for justice and a voice within their school,” Taylor said. “During this year, we will be working harder to grow our social media platforms and hopefully obtain even more stories from students who have experienced injustice or racism.We have hopes to start fundraising … to educate, support, and provide awareness.”
Erik Lorenz would like to continue The Redemancy Project on Southern’s campus.
“I think making The Redemancy Project an official club would be a good start,” Lorenz said. “Each university will have its own issues regarding race, but it’s important to get students involved and have conversations about what the issues are on this campus and work towards improvement and supporting others.”