When exercise science major, Ella Folsom-Fraster ‘20, caught wind of a social justice campaign involving her favorite Boston sports teams, she was immediately intrigued.
“Sports were always the biggest part of my life while growing up, and social justice issues were always a primary discussion point in family—so it was the perfect combination” said Folsom-Fraster. Her mother, Beth, the Vice President and Chief Program Officer of Mass Mentoring Partnership, attended the premier of the Take the Lead public service announcement (PSA) and knew it was something that could be implemented on her daughter’s campus.
We need to take it upon ourselves to be a functioning member of society, to contribute to society, and to change how society is currently.
Folsom-Fraster explained that the idea behind the Take the Lead campaign is that sports mirrors society—so whatever social issues are occurring within a stadium, ballpark or arena, are issues that are arising everywhere else. The Take the Lead PSA communicates that the Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, and New England Revolution will not tolerate racism and emphasizes the importance of an inclusive and accepting environment.
Just like with sports, a college campus mirrors society and Folsom-Fraster knew that Take the Lead’s message had a place here at Endicott.
“We need to take it upon ourselves to be a functioning member of society, to contribute to society, and to change how society is currently. To do that we need to educate ourselves and each other and listen to one another, and I think that Take the Lead is the perfect way to get those conversations started” she noted.
Motivated and ready to make a change, Folsom-Fraster gathered 10 students of various backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities to create an Endicott version of the Take the Lead PSA. The goal of Endicott’s PSA is to initiate a conversation about race, sexuality, and homophobia and get people to feel comfortable talking about these divisive issues.
Folsom-Fraster said, “This is just the beginning to get students to start thinking. Eventually, I would love for students to start talking to each other, listening to each other, and hearing each other's stories. I hope that students see the PSA and are encouraged to go out and do something more, be a better person, and to stand up to things like racism, sexism, and homophobia.”
After rolling out the PSA, Folsom-Fraster hopes to identify a speaker who can come and educate students on how to handle social justice issues that they may encounter on campus and ultimately help them feel comfortable enough to do something, instead of being a bystander. She also would like to see Endicott challenge other institutions to create their own PSA in order to get more communities to start thinking and talking about these issues.