For the 20th anniversary of the Unity Awards — recognizing young people who are working to combat prejudice and promote racial unity — Not in Our Town Princeton invited past awardees to attend the celebration at the Carl A. Fields Center at Princeton University. These photos by Roland Glover and captions by Jeanne De Voe and Wilma Solomon capture some of the joy!
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Antoine Newlin (2004 awardee), left, with Ashley Hightower
Ashley Hightower (2002) awardee) with Matthew Hawes (2017)
Matthew Hawes (2017 awardee) with Harvi Shergill (2015 awardee)
Juan Polanco, 2013 awardee
Luis Estrada, 2013 and 2017 awardee. Not pictured: Ashlyn Liverman (2014) and Kimberly Rojas (2015).
Congratulating the winners: Jason Burr, principal of John Witherspoon Midle School, with Stephanie Chorney.
Families and friends came to honor the awardees. All these photos are available for purchase from the photographer, Roland Glover (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Assemblyman Roy Freiman spoke.
Leah Williamson is a graduating senior at Princeton High School, Williamson has used her artistic skills to promote social justice events in Princeton for Princeton Human Services, such as Welcoming Week, for immigrants and U.S.-born residents; and the Send Hunger Packing program. Williamson founded the Urban Arts Club at Princeton High School and is a member of the Princeton Youth Advisory Committee.
Mojisola Ayodele, an eighth-grader at John Witherspoon Middle School, said she organized a group called “We Are People” after seeing how insensitive her classmates could be.
Nina Tillman is a PHS student who has been active in the Minority Achievement Network and Multicultural Student Union, Nina also participated in the “See Me, Hear Me” conferences. She is part of the Trenton Circus Squad, working with youth.
Shane Spring: The PHS student co-founded the PHS Multiracial Student Union for multiracial students, Spring was also active with CHOOSE as a story editor for the textbook on racial awareness.
Valeria Torres-Olivares, a senior at PHS who will attend Princeton University in the fall and is a Not In Our Town board member, was recognized for numerous activities that include co-coordinating with Nishtar, a student-run Board of Education candidates night sponsored by Not In Our Town. She is organizing Princeton Chronicles, a project to tell the stories of residents of Princeton’s Jackson-Witherspoon neighborhood. Torres-Olivares also teaches girls to code through Princeton Public Library’s Girls Who Code Club.
Yayla Tur, an eighth-grader at the Princeton Charter School, is a peer leader who speaks up against discrimination. She has been active with ACT, a school organization against gun violence.
Zainab Qureshi, a PHS student, helped organize VOICES discussions at the Princeton Public Library about social justice. She helped found the ECHO Club and the Muslim Society at PHS, which organized cross-cultural and multi-religious events at PHS.
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker presents to Brianna Silva, an advocate for Hispanic students at PHS and a tutor for ELL students. She brought her concerns last year to Princeton’s Civil Rights Committee. She organized fundraising events through the student group Woke, which she co-runs, to raise college funds for a student. She was vice-president of the Student Achievement Network. (Photo by Roland Glover).
Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker with Unity award winners. (Photo by Roland Glover)
Princess Hoagland. chair of NIOT Princeton, with board member Hamza Nishtar, receiving a Unity Award. Photo by Roland Glover.
Each awardee had an opportunity to speak. Here, Hamza Nishtar
Princess Hoagland, chair of NIOT Princeton, and Valeria Torres-Olivares, a board member.
Mojisola Ayodele, 8th grader at John Witherspoon Middle School, organized a group called “We Are People” to help plan programs for a diversity conference for eighth graders. “I had an idea for change,” she said.
Fedlyne Cleophat is a PHS senior who has been active with the Minority Student Network for four years, most recently as vice-president. She worked with the Princeton Board of Education on the PHS Racial Literacy course and has interviewed Princeton residents for the CHOOSE textbook.
Families and friends gathered to congratulate the honorees. For copies of these photos, contact Roland Glover email@example.com
Board members with some of the award winners. Clockwise from back left: Robert Schiraldi, Joyce Trotman-Jordan, Larry Spruill, Linda Oppenheim, Hamza Nishtar, Fedlyne Cleophat, Leah Williamson, Brianna Silva, Valeria Torres-Olivares, Miki Mendelsohn, Princess Hoagland, Shirley Satterfield, Fern Spruill, Wilma Solomon. (Photo by Roland Glover)
Not in Our Town Princeton is grateful to Roland Glover for these pictures, to Jeanne De Voe for chronicling the event (in a previous post) and meticulously captioning the pictures, and Wilma Solomon, for crafting the encomiums. Together, they captured the heartwarming spirit of twenty years of Unity Awards and preview the next twenty years.