College Up Close: Jorren Biggs, AAAD
Social justice work, activism and leadership have been integral to senior Jorren Biggs’ time as a Tar Heel.
Biggs began working with the Youth Justice Project of NC and the National Juvenile Justice Network as a high school student and continued his work with the organizations through college, learning about and advocating for justice system reform.
Working with elected officials and community members, he learned “how the school-to-prison pipeline affects children from low-come families and children of color,” Biggs said. “A lot of the topics I’m interested in specifically impact young people, though we’re often dismissed in conversations around policy creation.”
Biggs’ double major in African, African American and diaspora studies and political science has helped him contextualize his activist work as well as provide a deeper understanding of each major’s topics.
“I’ve been able to bring information about political messaging to discussions of immigration through the diaspora and knowledge about African geography to conversations on international relations,” he said.
One of Biggs’ favorite classes has been his research seminar, “Caribbean Feminist and Queer Epistemologies.” Taught by Petal Samuel, the course allowed him to “imagine the creation of safe spaces for the most vulnerable members of society,” he said. “I think about it every day.”
On March 25, 2023, Biggs presented his research on Durham’s Black Wall Street community –– a topic of special importance to him as a Durham native –– at the AAAD Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Aside from his classes, Biggs’ favorite Carolina memories include beating Duke in the Final Four last year and his time with Black Student Movement, where he serves as the vice president.
As Biggs prepares to attend law school after graduation, he shares the best advice he’s been given: “You’re not better than anyone; no one’s better than you.”
By Jess Abel ’19
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