Carroll board member and alum DeVon Jackson begins conversation about diversity


Laura Wallon, Staff writer

Archbishop Carroll alumnus and board member DeVon Jackson (‘96) visited last week to talk about the importance of discussions regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion and also emphasized the importance of accepting that everyone is different.

Jackson said he was here to start a conversation and conversations it started indeed.

Senior Eryn Dennis said the assembly was long overdue and a step in the right direction.

“The assembly was very beneficial in starting conversations about things that are problematic at Carroll,” Dennis said. “Even though it may be uncomfortable for people, it’s important to have these conversations so we can grow and learn from each other.”

Senior Jade O’Dowd said she appreciated not only the assembly but also Jackson as a speaker.

“Listening to him was like listening to my friend,” O’Dowd said. “It was comforting to hear that someone cared. He brought up points that I think everyone needed to hear and understand. There are issues within the school that need to be brought to light and I think this assembly did that.”

By allowing members of the audience to ask him questions about his personal life, Jackson set the tone as informal for the rest of the assembly. He allowed for students of all grades to answer questions and to insert their opinions. At the end of the meeting, he asked the Carroll students what the administration could do to prevent microaggressions. The first couple of responses answered the question Jackson posed but other students took this opportunity to make statements that some students have thoughts on.

Sophomore Lisa Wallon enjoyed the assembly but expressed concerns about a couple of comments students made at the end of the assembly about gender issues. 

“I feel like many other students took the opportunity to talk about other issues, which derailed the conversation,” Wallon said. “It’s like they completely forgot what the question was … [W]hat DeVon Jackson was trying to do was create a safe environment for POC [people of color] students. Yes, he did talk about other systems of oppression like sexism … but his main point was about race and racism. It felt like all the time he spent on establishing why racism is wrong was erased in seconds by comments that had to do with other issues.”

Senior Lydia Maione agreed.

“While topics were necessary to be brought to attention, other topics were mentioned I feel like should be used for later discussion,” Maione said. 

 Other students believed that the assembly should have been longer, or that there should have been an opportunity to talk about it further in-depth.

Junior Lucia Kamanousa said she would have liked it if more specific examples were presented to the audience.

“I would’ve liked if we talked about specific situations where students have felt microaggressions or discriminated against so that the administration can see what not to do but he did clarify it was only the beginning of a conversation so I understand,” Kamanousa said.