On Nov. 21 2019, University of Redlands senior Jacob Green passed away in a tragic car accident.
Jacob Green was a beloved member of the University of Redlands community. Along with being a race and ethnic studies major, he was involved in the STEP program, which helps give first-generation college students support through mentorship and providing resources. He also interned in the Campus Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) department and at the Title IX office.
Peter Tupou, the director of CDI, worked with Green since his freshman year. Green was part of the football team at this time and met Tupou as his advisor for the Summer Bridge program for first-generation students. By his sophomore year, Green began interning at CDI and remained there for the next three years. Tupou mentioned that he appreciated that Green never took shortcuts. He always “did things the long way” to ensure a thorough and correct job done. Tupou noted that Green was a very compassionate and respectful man who was an advocate for others.
Green’s interests laid deeply within matters of race and social justice. Keith Osajima, his his senior capstone project professor, mentioned he was “deeply curious to find answers to big and challenging issues.” He had a tendency to reach beyond surface thoughts and drag out implications. Osajima added that he was always willing to help others and offered his perspective to expand concepts.
Near the time of Green’s death, it seemed that he was getting a clear idea about what he wanted to accomplish in the world, Osajima mentioned. He had a desire to get a higher education and get to the heart of diversity and inclusion to create a better world. He was excited about the possibility of doing what he loved—to think about the ways oppression and racism divide people and how to overcome them.
Green’s capstone project was on the concept of love, specifically within the community of African American men. He wanted to explore masculinity and what it meant to love one another. This, according to Osajima, is an example of the hard concepts Green thoughtfully pondered in order to help the world he so evidently cared about.
Outside of Green’s academic life, he was well-loved by friends at the U of R. One of his close friends, Javier Garcia III, described Green as being goofy (as did his advisors), energetic, and fun-loving. “He was the epitome of respect,” Garcia explained. He mentioned Green was committed, passionate, organized, and he knew his purpose in the world. “There is never going to be an article or piece of writing that will capture his essence. Words just don’t do him justice.”
“Once you start talking about him, you can’t stop,” said Ridha Kapoor, another close friend of his at the University. Kapoor said that Green always filled a room with a positive spirit, was very intelligent and multifaceted. Another friend, Leslie Montebello, said that he had big goals and would have continued to make a big difference in the world.
Green is described to have lit up every classroom, and it is obvious to many how bright a future he had ahead of him. “The good coming out of this tragedy is to realize the beautiful community he had at this school, a community he created for himself,” said Jennifer Tilton, one of his advisors.
According to a University Announcement email, a memorial service for Green will be held by his family on December 14, 2019, at 11 a.m. at New Commandment Missionary Baptist Church, 15548 Paramount Blvd, Paramount, CA 90723. The university community is invited to attend.
Photograph Contributed by Leslie Montebello.