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.

 

 

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.