Personality: Jamon K. Phenix

Spotlight on VUU Student Government Association president

3/1/2019, 6 a.m.
Jamon K. Phenix, president of Virginia Union University’s Student Government Association, takes this position as a student leader and one ...
Jamon K. Phenix

“Student leadership is important because it is a launching pad for careers and professional development,” Mr. Phenix says. “It is an indicator whether a person will be a servant leader to society or a follower.”

As SGA president, he serves on the President’s Council.

“I am able to sit at the table every Tuesday as a member of the council as they create policy and insert my opinions about what is recommended and how it will affect students,” he says.

He says VUU, with its history starting at the Lumpkin’s Jail slave pen in Shockoe Bottom in 1865, “is at the heart of race and reconciliation” in the Commonwealth.

“I will not stop carrying the banner of freedom until every unjustified action is handled,” Mr. Phenix says. “That’s why I believe in social justice and civil rights for all.”

Meet this week’s Personality and student-community leader, Jamon K. Phenix:

No. 1 volunteer position: President of the Student Government Association, Virginia Union University.

Date and place of birth: May 25 in Atlanta. 

Current residence: Richmond. 

Classification: Graduating senior. 

Family: The youngest of three sons to Sholon Green and Christopher Phenix of Atlanta.

How did it feel growing up near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthplace: Growing up in the heart of Atlanta engrained me with a deep sense of justice and community. Being close to Dr. King’s birth home reminded me that the two principals were synonyms and essential to move a people forward. Whether I was attending a Sunday church service or sitting in a city council meeting, I was being exposed to a level of information that has rooted me inside of civil rights and social justice.

Why you decided to run for Student Government Association president: As I began to notice systemic issues that affected my institution, I started to think of solutions to combat those problems. After two years in student leadership, I decided to throw my name in the hat to help lead with a progressive vision and goal-setting attitude.

What prompted you to write to Gov. Ralph S. Northam: This step was taken as the result of a town hall meeting that was held on campus. In our meeting, we discussed the importance of the event, and some even publicly opposed the governor. However, we created an action plan out of that meeting. The letter was a result of the town hall. 

Consensus from VUU’s student body regarding the request: Majority of students stood by the letter and will continue to support honest conversation. We are anticipating the governor’s roundtable and we are preparing accordingly.

What does reconciliation look like to you: Reconciliation must be achieved by first starting with honest and open dialogue, with politics off the table. Let’s admit it, we’re human. However, we have to stand by our mistakes and understand that they will sometimes have unfavorable outcomes. That’s accountability. This must be followed up with action. 

What history lesson do you think people received in these past few weeks: The lesson becomes there is more fighting to be done. The Civil Rights Movement has taken on another form and another fight. I believe education is at the heart of that fight.