“I feel I’ve gained a voice to speak up about the injustices occurring across the nation and the world. I’ve learned the importance of being educated about topics that affect different groups of people,” says Maya Johnson a senior at Ursuline Academy.
This past year, Johnson helped established a Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Task Force that is dedicated to celebrating and honoring multiple cultures and communities “In this group, we’ll discuss ways we can become racially literate and culturally competent,” says Johnson.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure that future generations can live in a country where minority groups aren’t discriminated or oppressed,” she says. “This country still has a lot of changing, progressing and growing to do, and I’m determined to do my part in bringing about this change.”
At Ursuline, students are dedicated to a lifelong commitment of serving. The school teaches the value of giving back to the community. Each grade level focuses on areas of service for the community.
“I have many memories filled with joy and pleasure, so it’s difficult to name just one rewarding volunteering experience,” says Johnson. “Being able to step out of my comfort zone and build relationships with the people I served was certainly (one).”
Johnson is also highly involved at Ursuline through The National Honor Society, The National Art Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society. These allow her additional opportunities to give back to the community.
Johnson is also a member of Ursuline’s Key Club and the president of Ursuline’s Diversity of Women Club, where Johnson hopes that one day, every person at Ursuline feels seen, heard and represented.
“Activism gives you something to fight for and allows you to discover your true self. I’m forever grateful for my activism and I look forward to the future knowing that it is an essential part of my life now,” she says.
William “Bill” Rouselle, Johnson’s grandfather known as “Paw Paw,” inspired her to become interested in activism. Rouselle was the first Black news reporter for WDSU.
“He has a committed voice for justice, and bravely fought for civil justice during a time when speaking out was dangerous for African-Americans. I consider him a legendary activist who paved the way for many Black individuals here in New Orleans,” says Johnson.
Johnson is still undecided about where she may go to college next fall, but she’s leaning towards becoming a pharmacist so she can make an impact in the health industry.