Sunday, June 18, 2017

Turning Pain Into Power: 2017 Black Education Matters Student Activist Award winners | I AM AN EDUCATOR

Turning Pain Into Power: 2017 Black Education Matters Student Activist Award winners | I AM AN EDUCATOR:

Turning Pain Into Power: 2017 Black Education Matters Student Activist Award winners

BEM_Awardwinners
Black Education Matters Student Activist Award winners, with Michael and Martellus Bennett, Jesse Hagopian, and NAACP education chair Rita Green. (Photo by Sara Bernard)
It was one of the most triumphant days of my life.
Thursday, June 15th was a day when I took the most painful moment in my life and used it to produce one of the most joyous days of my life. This was the day I had the honor to present the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award to four incredible young changemakers in the Seattle Public Schools. The Student Activist Award fund offers a cash scholarship and community support to deserving Seattle public school students who demonstrate exceptional leadership in struggles for social justice and against institutional racism. Our winners this year were Jelani HowardBaily AdamsPrecious Manning-Isabell, and Mahala Provost—young activists who you will undoubtedly hear much more about in the future as they continue to challenge racism and transform every institution they encounter.
Each student received $1,000 from the fund I started after winning a settlement when I was assaulted by a Seattle police officer. I won this settlement by launching a federal lawsuit against the City and the Seattle Police Department after being pepper sprayed without provocation at the 2015 Martin Luther King Day rally in Seattle. While the officer who doused me with pepper spray, officer Sandra DeLaFuente, didn’t even receive a one-day suspension for assaulting me on the sidewalk, I was at least able to win some compensation that I could put to good use. I then partnered with leaders in the Seattle NAACP–education chair Rita Green and youth outreach coordinator Rachael DeCruz–to form a committee for finding and selecting leading student activists.
bennettBrosJoining us for the award ceremony were the Super Bowl champion Bennett brothers, Michael and Martellus–two of the greatest football players in the NFL and two of the greatest activist athletes in the world. Having these two celebrated athletes and powerful spokesmen for justice made the awardTurning Pain Into Power: 2017 Black Education Matters Student Activist Award winners | I AM AN EDUCATOR:

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