Meet Jaime. Ardent. Just. He’s using his own voice to speak up for others.
Jaime Reyes ’19, a Graceland senior originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin, is making a difference in the lives of people he has never even met. He is using one of the greatest tools he has – his voice – and is working to improve the lives of people who he feels have traditionally been under-supported
Jaime was instrumental in starting the groundwork for a petition and rally to support people affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Commonly referred to as DACA, this American immigration policy provides opportunity for children brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country, the only home many have ever known. Though not personally impacted by the DACA dispute across the country, Jaime educated himself and those around him, and he stood ready to speak up for what he believes to be right.
Jaime brought his concerns and goals to Assistant Professor of English Tim Robbins and Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Dave Schaal. Together, they were able to begin movement on Graceland’s Lamoni campus that led to a rally Nov. 11, 2017, and a petition that sought Graceland support for the people impacted by DACA, known as “Dreamers.”
“This was my first time truly standing up for what I believe in,” shared Jaime. “I never thought that my voice mattered because it’s singular – and what power do I have?”
Jaime continues to find his own power to make change and didn’t stop with his efforts to support Dreamers. He is an active member of the Sex and Gender Equality (SAGE) club at Graceland, a student group that helps to promote inclusiveness and wholeness on campus and within the community.
He works to be even more involved with GALA (Gay and Lesbian Acceptance), a nonprofit organization made up of Community of Christ members of all sexual orientations and gender identities who seek to offer acceptance and support to LGBTQ+ individuals and their family and friends.
This summer, Jaime attended a GALA retreat in Utah and was elected as an at-large board member. In this role, he will seek to build a bridge between GALA and Graceland as a means to offer support for LGBTQ+ individuals on the Lamoni campus.
“Having Jaime on the GALA Board of Directors is an exciting step toward having an ongoing relationship between Graceland and GALA,” expressed Jerry M. Dale Jr., GALA president and a 1996 Graceland graduate. “Our first step is to help Graceland students and alumni who identify as LGBTQ+ or as allies know that there is an organization here to support them and offer resources and community. GALA hosts an annual international retreat and regional retreats. When I came out at Graceland in 1995, I was immediately connected to GALA, and it made all the difference for me.”
Jaime is now also becoming a social leader through his actions – for himself and for others. He credits Graceland with teaching him empowerment and providing him with the courage to take action. He even names two people throughout his Graceland experience who really inspired him in this journey.
“I’m thankful to Professor Adam Martin for instilling in me a sense of civic duty to my community and the responsibility to stand up for what I believe in,” said Jaime. “And to Dave Schaal for always having an open mind, the willingness to help foster the ideas of students and continuous support. These are two people who I will always look back on and remember the impact they had on my life.”
Jaime is majoring in biology with a chemistry minor and plans to go into pharmaceutical research. In the meantime, he will continue to share his lessons from Graceland with others who may one day choose to find their own sense of empowerment right here on “the Hill.”
Graceland and the City of Lamoni mourned the passing of a longtime supporter of the community this fall. The Honorable Leonard L. Boswell ’55 passed away Aug. 17 at the age of 84 in a Des Moines, Iowa, hospital. Boswell’s drive, commitment, passion, devotion and beaming smile will be missed.
An exciting change is coming to the Graceland University Lamoni campus. As the university continues to emphasize the idea of a student-centered environment, it is appropriate that the Memorial Student Center (MSC), a building that is so much a part of every student’s life, should receive major renovations that will greatly impact students and their Graceland experience.
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