News: #JessicasTux Starts A Movement For Change

Photo Credit: Michael Urbina

Jessica Urbina's senior portrait that caused an uproar amongst students when they learned that this photo would not be present in the yearbook and at graduation.

What started out as a tweet from high school students expressing their outrage towards the discrimination a fellow classmate experienced, has now spread into a movement for change across the Bay Area. This past Thursday, students at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory in San Francisco were shocked to hear that a very hardworking senior, Jessica Urbina, would not be shown in the yearbook nor have her photo shown at graduation solely because of what she chose to wear in her senior portrait.

 

Instead of the traditional black dress that many female seniors wear, Jessica boldly wore a tuxedo. What should be praised as an example of unique self-expression turned into an excuse for discrimination. Students responded strongly with means of social media, helping spread the story of this unjustified action the San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese has taken against the senior that should able to enjoy her last few weeks of school without the burden of her school’s prejudice.

 

“We decided to do something about it [Thursday] in the morning during our 5th period”, stated senior Liza Howard. A conversation between her and some students led to a decision that “it’s time for tradition to change,” and to spread the word. “We realized how unfair this was and how this can become huge, really fast. So we brought the hashtag #JessicasTux around lunch that same day.” Howard was one of the students that started the spread of the hashtag, not only telling students to post about it, but friends and family as well. In one day, this event caught the full attention of the local community. “It went on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and even Tumblr,” recalls Howard. NBC Bay Area and ABC Channel 7 News were 2 of the 4 reporters who went to the school on Friday to investigate further.

 

Students did not stop at making #JessicasTux a success, but wanted to physically show their support for Jessica. Students decided to wear ties in order to show unity for the cause. Not only students at SHC wore ties, but other students as well showed their support for the cause by posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Students all around the Bay Area are continuing to use the hashtag, and strive for justice for Jessica Urbina. “No one should be excluded from a community, and, as a school that motivates the students that enter to learn, and learn to serve, as a class, we all learned from this experience and will learn to serve the purpose of equal rights for all.”