Committee Update: NJCL
As the National Junior Classical League reflects upon its past, present, and future, we understand and embrace the critical importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in both the world at large and classical studies in particular. Over the past year, the NJCL Executive Board has taken steps to advance the work of DEIB within our organization.
Much of that work has been an introspective analysis of the JCL Creed and Song in order to rewrite portions of both that were rightly objectionable. This has been a key priority in recent years. The Creed and Song are symbolic of our organization’s character and goals. In order to engage in a reflective process about the necessary changes to these foundational texts, we have solicited feedback from students and adults who care deeply about JCL and how it has spurred on their love for studying classics. This work will be completed in the Spring and unveiled at the NJCL Convention in Louisiana this July.
Furthermore, the student officers have formed a DEI Committee for JCL students. The intent in forming this committee was to bring student voices to the table, particularly at the national level. Applications for this committee were voluminous (over 60 total from across the country for a group that had a goal of 10-15), a testament to the passion and commitment that students have for advancing the work of diversity in the JCL. At this year’s convention, the JCL will present a convention registration award to a student who identifies as a member of an historically underrepresented group in the classics — application information can be found under the convention tab on the website. This was the work of last year’s JCL officers, and this year’s student officers have continued that work with zeal.
JCL has acknowledged and apologized for the harmful practices that existed for far too long at conventions and other events. Although we cannot erase the past, we can express accountability for that past in working to build a more inclusive future. This work is continuing with the support of both adults and students within the JCL; it is work of which we are proud and excited to continue.
Savvy Thompson, NJCL President Chair
David Jackson, NJCL Committee