2020 “Black Education Matters Student Activist Award” winners announced!

Online Press Conference/Award Ceremony:

 2020 “Black Education Matters Student Activist Award

winners announced!

–Fifth annual ceremony–

*Super Bowl champion and NFL Pro Bolwer Michael Bennett to present one of the awards in the name of his mother.*

Award ceremony for anti-racist student organizers to be held at on online zoom press conference

When: 5:00pm Pacific, Thursday June 25th

Where: online, Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83370603426?pwd=ZXg4TTd6M2kzaGIrajJoaXJPOFkyUT09

Meeting ID: 833 7060 3426

Seattle, WA: The Black Education Matters Student Activist Award (BEMSAA) offers a $1000 package to deserving Seattle public school students who demonstrates exceptional leadership in struggles for social justice against institutional racism.

All around the nation  young people are joining an uprising for Black Lives.  These youth don’t want another person to have to experience what George Floyd, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and so many other Black people have experienced. They also want to build a school system that teaches the truth about Black history and uplifts Black history.

“Here in Seattle we are honoring four of the most dynamic students activists in the struggle for Black lives who have been doing this work for years. I am so proud of this year’s winners of the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award,” said BEMSAA director Jesse Hagopian. “They have all contributed greatly to undoing institutional racism in the schools and the boarder society and have demonstrated brave leadership in struggles for social justice.”

The 2019 award winners are:

  • Angelina Riley is a Rainier Beach High School student and incoming president of the Seattle King County NAACP Youth Council. Angelina helped write a petition asking the district to no longer allow police in the schools that garnered some 18,000 signatures in a few days and led to the Seattle Public Schools announcement that police would be removed from the schools for a year.
  • Azure Savage is a queer, trans, Black student graduate of Garfield High School. He is the author of You Failed Us: Students of Color Talk Seattle Schools, an exploration of the experience that students of color have in the schools they attend around the Seattle area. It incorporates direct quotes from interviewed students, as well as the author’s own personal experiences from when they were in elementary school, to now, about to enter their senior year of high school. Azure’s book helped ignite a discussion about combating institutional racism in the Seattle schools.  Azure has also organized BLM rallies at Garfield and participated in BLM rallies throughout the city.
  • Bethel Getu is a Graduate of Garfield High School graduate and senator for the Black Student Union. Bethel served as a student consultant for the forthcoming Young Adult edition of, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” and was an organizer for the “Youth Shall Lead: Seattle Children’s March” where she helped craft demands around ending police violence.
  • Kidist Habte, is a co-founder of “Black and Brown Minds Matter,” and is a junior at Rainier Beach High School. As Parent Map wrote, “She helped conceive of and organize the group’s inaugural Sept. 4 rally to raise awareness of funding inequities across the district, many of which are caused by the under-projection of school enrollment numbers that results year after year in budget cuts and under-resourcing of Seattle Public Schools serving students in South Seattle.” She also helped organize the petition to remove police from schools that received over 18,000 signatures in a few days and led to the Seattle Public Schools announcement that police would be removed from the schools for a year.

Past award winners have been among the most impactful student leaders in Seattle, including leading mass walkouts against president Trump’s inauguration, leading the successful movement for ORCA transportation cards for Seattle students, leading whole teams to take a knee during the national anthem, launching the NAACP Youth Coalition, leading movements for food justice, and more.

The award was started with funds Seattle teacher Jesse Hagopian received in a settlement after suing the Seattle Police Department and the City of Seattle when he was wrongfully assaulted with pepper-spray by a Seattle Police officer.

 On MLK Day 2015, Jesse Hagopian was pepper sprayed in the face by a Seattle police officer without provocation. The incident occurred not long after Hagopian gave the final speech at the MLK Day community rally. Hagopian is committed to turning that pain into the empowerment of youth for social change.

 

 

Nominations Now Open for the 2020 Black Education Matters Student Activist Award!

Some of the 2018 Black Education Matters Student Activist Award winners being congratulated by Linda Sarsour, Pele Bennett, and Michael Bennett. Apply today for the 2020 award.

Starting Thursday, May 14th through June 12th, 2020, nominations will be accepted for the Black Education Matters Student Activist award!  I am writing this letter to encourage 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 the Seattle Public Schools who demonstrate exceptional leadership in struggles against racism—especially with an understanding of the intersections with sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamaphobia, class exploitation and other forms of oppression—within their school or community. Over the past several years, thirteen Seattle Public Schools students have been honored with the award.

Jesse Hagopian: 'I Was Pepper-Sprayed by Seattle Police on MLK Day ...
Seattle Police Officer pepper sprays Jesse Hagopian

Jesse Hagopian founded the award after he was assaulted by a Seattle police officer and won a settlement.  The assault occurred in January of 2015, soon after Jesse gave the final speech at Seattle’s Martin Luther King Day rally.  Not long after, Jesse was pepper-sprayed in the face without provocation by an officer of the Seattle Police Department.  Jesse was on the phone with his mom at time of the assault, coordinating a ride to his then two-year-old son’s birthday party.  The incident was captured on video by an onlooker. Jesse then filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department and reached a settlement over the incident, using the proceeds to start the “Black Education Matters Student Activist Award.”  While Jesse is glad the money from the settlement could be used to support youth activism, he has stated that, “The settlement does not represent justice given that the officer who pepper-sprayed me did not even receive a one-day suspension for the assault.”

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 public 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, class exploitation and other forms of oppression—within their school or community.

Application instructions: Nominees must submit required material by May 5, 2018, 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

Introducing the 2019 Black Education Matters Student Activist Award Winners!

AwardPic.JPG
Left to right: Bestselling author/Super Bowl champion Michael Bennett, Rena Mateja Walker Burr, Khabirah Weddington, Cece Chan, & Jesse Hagopian
Black Education Matters Student Activist award ceremony

At the first NAACP Youth Coalition Racial Justice Conference on Saturday, ethnic studies teacher Jesse Hagopian and Superbowl champion/bestselling author Michael Bennett presented the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award (BEMSAA) to three of the most dynamic and powerful changemaking youth in Seattle.

The 2019 BEMSAA award winners are:

RenaMWB

Rena is an NAACP Youth Coalition leader  and one of the most outspoken leaders for ethnic studies and the Black Lives Matter at School movement.

KWKhabirah founded the Black Student Union at Madrona Elementary School and has served as the Garfield High School BSU president for the past three years. She has been a relentless advocate for Black students and lead many struggles for racial justice and initiatives to promote Black excellence.

CC

Cece serves as the Nathan Hale’s representative on the NAACP-Youth Coalition and has been a leader in the struggle for ethnic studies and for the Black Lives Matter at School week of action. Cece has also recently finished a documentary about the struggle and promise of ethnic studies in the Seattle schools!

The Black Education Matters Student Activist Award (BEMSAA) offers a $1000 package to deserving Seattle public school students who demonstrates exceptional leadership in struggles for social justice, and against institutional racism.

Michael Bennett gave Rena the special Pennie Bennett award in the name of his mother saying,

My mom worked in the school district for the last 30 years…Me and Jesse have been friends for a while and I wanted to be able to create an lasting award for Black education and give out an award out every year to represent what my mom believes in…My mom was looking at all the things you were doing and she said, that girls is amazing! And I’m lucky to be able to give this award to Rena!

“I am so proud of this year’s winners of the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award,” said BEMSAA director Jesse Hagopian. “They have all contributed greatly to undoing institutional racism in the schools and have demonstrated brave leadership in struggles for social justice.”

Past award winners have been among the most impactful student leaders in Seattle, including leading mass walkouts against president Trump’s inauguration, leading the successful movement for ORCA transportation cards for Seattle students, leading whole teams to take a knee during the national anthem, launching the NAACP Youth Coalition, leading movements for food justice, and more.

Ifrah Abshir , 2016 winner of the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award, created this video to tell the 2019 winners what the award ment to her.

pepper_spray_HagopianThe BEMSAA award was started with funds Seattle teacher Jesse Hagopian received in a settlement after suing the Seattle Police Department and the City of Seattle when he was wrongfully assaulted by a Seattle Police officer.

On MLK Day 2015, Jesse Hagopian was pepper sprayed in the face by a Seattle police officer without provocation. The incident occurred not long after Hagopian gave the final speech at the MLK Day community rally. BEMawardLogos

Visit http://www.BlackEducationMatters.org to learn more about the award or to nominate a youth leader.


Seattle Students: Apply today for the 2019 Black Education Matters Student Activist Award

It’s time to nominate your favorite Seattle based anti-racist student activist for the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award (BEMSAA).

Seattle Public School students  (or advocates on their behalf) can apply for the Award by filling out this application.  Applications for the 2019 award are due by May 10th and award winners will be announced around the end of the month.

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 public 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, class exploitation and other forms of oppression—within their school or community.

Application instructions: Nominees must submit required material by May 10, 2019, 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

The History

Image result for jesse hagopian pepper sprayIn January of 2015, Jesse Hagopian gave the final speech at Seattle’s Martin Luther King Day rally.  Not long after, he was pepper-sprayed without provocation by an officer of the Seattle Police Department.  The incident was captured on video by an onlooker. Jesse reached a settlement over the incident with the City of Seattle and used the proceeds to start the “Black Education Matters Student Activist 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.

Past Award Winners

The winners of the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award are some of the most dynamic leaders in the struggle for racial justice in Seattle area.  Learn more about these young powerful changemakers below.

Click on the link to learn about all the amazing youth award winners.

Black Education Matters Student Activist Award–Apply Today!

Image result for jesse hagopian pepper sprayIn January of 2015, Jesse Hagopian gave the final speech at Seattle’s Martin Luther King Day rally.  Not long after, he was pepper-sprayed without provocation by an officer of the Seattle Police Department.  The incident was captured on video by an onlooker. Jesse reached a settlement over the incident with the City of Seattle and used the proceeds to start the “Black Education Matters Student Activist 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 public 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, class exploitation and other forms of oppression—within their school or community.

Application instructions: Nominees must submit required material by May 1, 2017, to be considered for funding.
• 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