January 16, 2018

Fighting for Freedom in GSO

“‘This too shall pass’ is my favorite quote because it’s something I know will always ring true,” says Southern Maryland native Judia “JuJu” Holton ’18.

I’m lucky because I’ve been given a lot of space here at Guilford to grow and to dabble in all of these things I’m interested in.

JuJu Holton '18
Community and Justice Studies major, Social Psychology minor

This time, it’s a good experience that’s soon passing on into something new and bright — their time at Guilford will soon transition into their future. 

JuJu is a Community and Justice Studies major and Social Psychology minor. Their focus is on identity politics and diversity work, specifically in Greensboro. She’s worked with a number of area organizations: Black Lives Matter Gate City, Beloved Community Center, Greensboro Counter Stories Project, and the Greensboro Housing Coalition. JuJu also volunteers with Every Campus a Refuge, a 501(c) nonprofit organization founded at Guilford. 

JuJu’s coursework at Guilford allows them to get hands on with their passions. In their senior Capstone class with Community and Justice Studies Professor Sherry Giles, JuJu explains, students expand on the work of our Research Methods class by creating and implementing a critical participatory action research (CPAR) project. “CPAR is pretty remarkable when we talk about social justice,” JuJu says, “because it brings visibility to hidden injustices in a way that is accessible and from those directly impacted.” 

Grounded in scientific methodology and social justice, critical participatory action research gives student researchers at Guilford a way to legitimize folks’ personal experiences of inequity and produce actionable research. 

Through interdisciplinary research, JuJu has developed a social justice project called, H2 afrO. 

"H2 afrO's goal is to have a generation of Black youth who hold water safety knowledge, swimming abilities, and an intimate connection with water by providing free lessons to folks from Black single parent, low-income families," JuJu explains. 

First Look

JuJu chose Guilford after a prospective student tour — but not their tour. As a freshman in high school, Guilford’s open-minded and unique student population resonated with them during a campus visit to see their cousin Fernando Cruz ’11, who is now Lead Podiatry Resident at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio.

"There was a girl wearing a tutu and glasses and she had a boombox, and there was a guy who also had glasses and was carrying an inflatable palm tree with Christmas lights on it,” she says. “I remember thinking ‘Oh, I like that !’” JuJu says freedom and “the ability to move freely and to be free and to express yourself freely” are both important to them. JuJu believes not everyone is given freedoms in their everyday lives — it’s a gift we must cherish.

After graduation, JuJu will be accompanying a faculty-led group of students to study Quaker Peace Building in Post-Conflict Rwanda. Upon returning to the U.S., JuJu is heading off to a fellowship with the Participatory Action Research Institute at City University of New York.

Interested in Community and Justice Studies? Want to make a difference in your area? Schedule a visit to Guilford to learn how you can make an impact.