Oakgrove Hosts First Virtual Panel ‘Civil Unrest & Social Injustice’

Graham Wells, Reporter

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For the first time in the club’s history, Oakgrove will be hosting a virtual panel for Venice students to address the protests and riots that have started occurring across America. The topic is ‘Civil Unrest and Social Justice’ and will take place on Sunday, June 7, from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

Oakgrove is a student-led club that was founded in 1972 by former Venice High School teacher Dale Stuck to provide a space for students to speak openly about race relations on campus after the Watts riots of 1965. As protests and riots have broken out in response to the recent death of George Floyd, Oakgrove, which sponsors bi-annual retreats, is going back to its roots by providing a platform to allow students to share their thoughts and personal experiences around the current Black Lives Matter movement. 

“I think that being a part of this virtual panel will be very rewarding,” said the club’s co-chair and senior Jasmine Vela in a text. “Oakgrove has helped me process my thoughts when I’ve experienced something challenging and I know Venice’s community will benefit from a safe space even if it’s virtual. It’s something we all need right now. It also feels like history is in the making. By taking advantage of this opportunity, students will be able to heal through shared experiences with peers.”

While Oakgrove retreats usually take place twice a semester, the club’s spring semester trip was canceled this year due to the outbreak of COVID-19. While the cancellation of Oakgrove was disappointing news to many of the Venice students and alumni planning to attend the retreat, the students in the club continuously brainstormed ideas on how they could provide the safe space students are used to each semester at Camp Eaton in the Angeles National Forest.

Unlike previous Oakgrove activities that only take place at Camp Eaton, the panel will be open to all Venice students that wish to participate. On the club’s Instagram page @venice.oakgrove, they have posted a link for students to sign up as well as rules that students need to follow if they choose to attend. 

If you would like to sign-up for the virtual panel on Google Meet, follow the steps on Oakgrove’s form and complete it by Saturday, June 6: