Congratulations to the five winners of this year’s Unity Awards. For the album of photos by Roland Glover, click here.
These awards, presented at a May 19 reception at PrincetonUniversity’s Carl A. Fields Center, honor students who are role models in their efforts to promote respect for diversity and to advance the cause of race relations. Each student received a certificate; they will also receive a gift at honors assemblies in their schools, scheduled for June 4 at Princeton High School and June 12 at John WitherspoonMiddle School (JWMS).
This photo by Roland Glover shows NIOT’s Wilma Solomon (center) with (from left, Juan Polanco, Joanne Adebayo, Luis Estrada, Jacklyn Adebayo, and Sam Nelson.)
Eighthgraders Joanne Adebayo and Luis Estrada were honored for their personal qualities and for their participation in various activities, including leading roles in the Martin Luther King Day program at JWMS.
“This Unity award is really quite special,” said Jason Burr, principal of JWMS. “It is for those who understand about how friendship eliminates the divide, who know what friendship is all about.”
Jacklyn Adebayo, a rising senior and the sister of Joanne, was chosen because of her work as president of the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN), Growing Up Accepted in America (GAIA), and End Child Hunger Organization (ECHO). Sam Nelson, a graduating senior, received the award for building cultural bridges in such organizations as Peer Leadership, a health education program, GAIA, and MSAN. Juan Polanco, a graduating senior, received recognition for his commitment to MSAN, Latinos Unidos, Big Brother Big Sister, and summer volunteering with the elderly.
Jim Floyd, shown above with Nelson, Polanco, and Jacklyn Adebayo, said he was so impressed by the three that he pledged to contribute toward the expenses of their college books.
Not in Our Town aims to speak truth about ‘everyday racism’ and other forms of prejudice and discrimination, says Wilma Solomon, NIOT president. In cooperation with the Princeton Public Library, NIOT presents a monthly discussion series, “Continuing Conversations on Race.” The organization, which consists of representatives from a dozen faith communities, also sponsors book readings, workshops, film series, panels, and anti-racism demonstrations.
“Our hope is that Princeton will continue to grow as a town in which the ideals of friendship, community and pride in diversity prevail,” says Solomon.
Shown here, PHS counselor Lenore Deal, Princeton YWCA’s Debra Raines, and Afsheen Shamsi, a member of Not in Our Town and of the Princeton school board.