Jalesha and Jerri want to reclaim narrative, fight for unheard voices

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Photo Credit: Jeb Milling | Daily Texan Staff

This is for the students that don’t feel heard, to the first-generation students who feel out of place, to those to whom this system was not built for: It’s time to transform. Even more, it’s time to be taken seriously.

We are here to transform the experiences students have at UT. We are here to ensure your access, success and happiness. We are here to shed light on the resources available to you. We are here to build a future you feel confident about. We are here to listen and to believe you. We are here to make UT a place you can continue to be proud of. 

We want to provide opportunities you can take advantage of while addressing the hard topics that no one else dares speak about. 

We hear your voices. 

We know your stories. 

We share your stories.

We are here to change the present for a better future, and that’s on period. For far too long, people have falsely embodied “saviors” of the voices that are unheard. We are here to take back our narratives. We are here to speak on our behalf. No longer are we going to let those who are simply empathetic to our situation be in control of the radical change we want to see. 

No one will fight harder for the issues of disadvantaged students than the ones who face them daily. 

Jerri and I decided to start campaigning because we were fed up with the hardships that we’ve experienced at UT.  In December, we discovered that UT was going to have a different Riverside bus schedule during finals week. Why add another obstacle for us to jump over during such a crucial point in the semester?

Thus started the two-hour rant about our UT experiences and what we wanted to see changed. After that much needed rant, we decided that there was something that needed to be done. After looking over all of our options, we decided that running for Student Government’s Executive Alliance would be the best way to be the change we want to see. We decided that during this campaign we will run with integrity, authenticity and transparency. Through transparency, we admit that doing this is really hard for us.

During our first week of campaigning, Jerri and I took a full day off from all of our studies and responsibilities to recover from all that was happening. One thing we need y’all to know about campaigning is you need to have some type of privilege to have the resources to run a campaign, which we lacked. It’s unfair for us to compare ourselves to other campaigns. Our team is comprised of 13 hardworking and passionate individuals. We don’t have all the tools necessary to run a big campaign. However, what we do have is drive. No one in our positions will ever have the resources or the money to accomplish what we are trying to do. Additionally, we can’t just keep letting other people of privilege speak on our behalf. We have to stand up and use our voices to have seats at the table. 

We refuse to continue to allow the issues that we face to stay in the dark. All of the issues we will be fighting for have affected us personally and students we know. These are daily issues we have to deal with, and we have no one to help us get through it. We want to take you on a journey to change the present to better the future. Additionally, to help students understand SG, we have been vlogging our campaign experience and will continue to do so while we are president and vice president. We vow to take you through every step of the journey so you’ll no longer have to wonder what SG
is doing. 

Fortunately, part of our job is slightly easier since our current Executive Alliance stated that they wanted their work to continue with the new president and vice president, to ensure started projects are finished. Some of their projects include UT Outpost and SURE Walk, some of the key initiatives that we are targeting. They have already started the fight, and we plan to continue it. 

In the Education Code of Texas, it says “... the state can achieve its full economic and social potential only if every individual has the opportunity to contribute to the full extent of the individual’s capabilities and only when financial barriers to the individual’s economic, social, and educational goals are removed.” We vow to remove any barriers that hinder students from accomplishing their economic, social and education goals. And that’s on period.