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The Voice of the Black Community

Focus

Enloe student is an actor, a dancer and a champion for change
 
Published Wednesday, June 12, 2019
by Wake County Public Schools

RALEIGH – Jordan King wasn’t the headliner, but as far as Jose Espinal was concerned, she was the evening’s brightest star. In April, Enloe Magnet High School hosted a performance of The Talk, an acclaimed one-man show by Sonny Kelly in which an African American father must have a difficult conversation with his son about how to protect himself in a racialized America.

Jordan represented the school’s Equity Team on a discussion panel following the performance that also included community members, a parent and a police officer. 

“She brought it home that she has conversations with a friend of hers, a tall African American male, and she has had to say be careful, don’t drive at night alone, things like that,” said Espinal, an assistant principal and the lead administrator on the Equity Team. “She really was just able to kind of drop the mic. She expressed herself in a way that touched the audience, that drove home the point that [police profiling] really happens. She allowed people to hear her vulnerability, her strength and her experience in a way that really connected with people.”

That’s a gift that Jordan has put to good use: as a leader on the Enloe Equity Team, as an actor and dancer, and at her church, World Overcomers Christian Church in Durham. When speaking with her, the first word that comes to mind is “confidence.”

“She’s been confident since she was younger, but that’s something my husband and I have stressed with all three of our daughters,” her mother, Metrogenia, said. “She’s always been confident, always been a leader, always been self-assured.”

A major effort by the Equity Team was prioritizing five strategies it wanted teachers to implement to ensure equity. Here is what is known as The Enloe 5: addressing race; checking for understanding; visibility; proximity; and connecting with students’ lives and their future selves.

“Teachers are preparing us for life after high school,” Jordan said, “So we felt it was important for teachers to care about us not only as students but also as people and as soon-to-be-adults.”

Jordan acknowledges that “addressing race” is the toughest strategy for most people to embrace, and the conversation will have to continue after she graduates. But she’s gratified to see the work she and her fellow students have done in the past three years has led to improvements. “We do see a lot of change in connecting with students’ lives, proximity and visibility,” she said. “A ton of my friends have seen their teachers start to change the way they teach.”

One other major factor that makes Jordan who she is, perhaps the overriding one, is her strong Christian faith. She’s an active member of her church, and she will attend Southeastern University, a Christian school in Lakeland, Florida, in the fall.

She’ll double major in Biblical studies and a subject to be named later. She wants to do a little exploring before deciding. She’s also not sure what she’ll pursue after college, though going into the ministry is a possibility. She definitely wants to have a life full of travel, which is one reason she opted to attend college in Florida. 

“If I get too comfortable, I won’t reach my full my potential,” she said. “I don’t want fear of being away from home to get in the way of what I’m supposed to do.”

 

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