Starting Monday, May 10th through Friday, Monday, June 7th, 2021, nominations will be accepted for the Black Education Matters Student Activist award (BEMSAA).  The BEMSAA organizing committee encourages educators, parents, students, and community organizers to nominate a deserving student for the award today!

The Black Education Matters Student Activist Award (BEMSAA) gives recognition, support, and a $1,000 award to student leaders in Seattle who demonstrate exceptional leadership in struggles against racism—especially with an understanding of the intersections with sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamaphobia, ableism, class exploitation and other forms of oppression—within their school or community. Over the past several years, 17 Seattle Public Schools students have been honored with the award.

Jesse Hagopian founded the award after he was assaulted by a Seattle police officer and won a settlement that he uses to fund the award. In addition, former Seattle Sea hawk Michael Bennett joined the award committee to give an annual award in the name of his mother, Pennie Bennett. Educators, youth workers, and organizers Rita Green, Donte Felder, and Ayva Thomas serve on the BEMSAA advisory board.

Last year’s winners were:

For a full list of the previous amazing award winners, please visit the Award Winners page.

Here, then, are the instructions for applying for the award.

Seattle Public School students (or advocates on their behalf) can apply for the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award by filling out this application.

THE OPPORTUNITY:

The Black Education Matters Student Activist Award fund offers a $1000 package to a deserving Seattle public school student who demonstrates exceptional leadership in struggles for social justice, and against institutional or structural racism. Student can nominate themselves, or can be nominated by a friend, teacher, coach, counselor, parent or others.

Criteria for selecting the awardee:
• Any student who has been enrolled for a semester or more in a Seattle school.
• A student who has shown social justice leadership in struggles against racism—especially with an understanding of the intersections with sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamaphobia, ableism, class exploitation and other forms of oppression—within their school or community.

Application instructions:

Nominees must submit required material by June 7th, 2021, to be considered for the award.
• Applicant or nominee name and other requested information, see below.
• Clippings or links to evidence or stories about the student’s work, if available.
• In addition to the information in the form, send 2 letters of recommendation, each not less than 300 or more than 700 words each, describing the nominee’s work and why it is deserving of recognition and how the student’s leadership qualities may further social justice work in the future.
• Note there are no restrictions for how the Nominee uses the funds obtained through this award.

The application for the award is available here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1JIqRZxNDUdYtGEsgJLP4ArM0VMaTMbPjfWEh-Bok3zU/edit?ts=58616bba

Application support materials should be sent to StudentActivistAward@gmail.com using the message line, “Black Education Matters Award, 2021”

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