Creating the Necessary Space

By Israel Briones Jr

With this project, I wanted to shine a light on Ashley Smith because as the president of the Black Student Union & Allies club (BSUA), she is the student best suited in the school to be a voice for people of color and their allies. Therefore, amplifying her voice so that her club's message/mission statement was important in focusing my project on her.

Looking at all the visits I made to RTHS and shadowing Ashley around, it was clear to me that she was putting in her best efforts in making the club become the best it could possibly be. Both during club meetings and certainly outside the club itself. Her other leadership positions all somehow linked back to her work with the BSUA club. I got to see this when she spoke for all the people who don't have much of a voice during the student council meetings she attended. Watching her plan and succeed in creating a new tradition for the school to bring the community together that involved a flag football tournament between all the grade levels was amazing. And a testament to how she was making a real change at RTHS.

It was a great experience to watch Ashley leave her mark on the school and set her club up so it would have a strong future long after she graduated. I am thankful for her letting me tag along and wish Ashley the best in the remaining time she has as a senior and beyond in her future endeavors. I have no doubt because of Ashely, the Black Student Union & Allies club is in good hands.