Like many young, politically aware students across the world, Jordan Kaitapu has taken to activism, between her academics, in an effort to support the rights of the black community. As a senior at Cordova High School, Kaitapu has used her voice to stand up for her beliefs and educate others while maintaining the values of her community. She has been the president of the Black Student Union (BSU) for two years, and throughout her time with the club, Jordan has organized service events, planned school walkouts, and attended protests around Sacramento.
Last year, one year after the death of Stephon Clark, and after the District Attorney’s decision to not charge the cops who killed Clark, Kaitapu directed a student-led walkout at CHS. Students across campus participated, many carrying signs to support the Black Lives Matter movement. The Free Lancer reported on this event here. When asked what prompted her to organize this walkout, Kaitapu referred to the decision of DA Anne Schubert, saying she “justified the murder of Stephon Clark on the basis that the two Sacramento police officers acted because they ‘feared’ for their lives.” As she watched this decision be made live, Kaitapu says she felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness for the fact that the “minimization of Clark’s death was a symptom of the system’s ability to destroy and control Black lives.” By leading the walkout at her school, Kaitapu channeled these values into an organized production that informed her classmates and raised awareness about the decision of the DA and its impacts on the community.
Earlier this year, when a fellow black female student approached Kaitapu about a teacher at CHS using the n-word in class, Kaitapu helped solve the issue. Initially, when speaking to the teacher about the concern seemed to have no impact, Kaitapu took the case to the administrators wherein she spoke to both the principal and vice-principal. By using her voice, both students were able to step up and take a stance towards a better culture at CHS where all students feel welcomed.
Another example of this was when Kaitapu spoke to the administration about her feelings towards the dress code, which she felt predominantly focused on the attire of black female students.
Although the issues that Kaitapu stands for are global, the impact of her actions within her own community contributes to the collective societal change that is needed to bring light and solutions to the injustices the black community faces.
Particularly, within the community of BSU, Jordan has worked to spread awareness about the injustices towards black people in America today. Although she aims to simply spur the conversation around the issue, Kaitapu hopes to one day take action against it. After high school, Kaitapu plans to begin her career towards becoming a civil rights lawyer. When asked why she aspired to enter this field, Kaitapu said, “While working as a civil rights lawyer, my objective is to ultimately bring justice to people and their loved ones when they’ve faced tribulations that impede their inalienable rights and protect people’s social freedoms that typically are overlooked or taken advantage of by an outside party.” She goes on to say, “I would hope to establish a base whereas I can educate disenfranchised people on their rights and liberties to defend themselves against pseudo-patriotism.”