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Norrix Students Win Social Justice Awards
Two Students Win Lewis Walker Awards
Two Loy Norrix High School students received the Dr. Lewis Walker Social Justice Youth Award as part of Kalamazoo’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January.
Loy Norrix senior Taylor Brown and sophomore Isaac Moss received their awards on Jan. 17 at the Kalamazoo City Commission meeting.
The Dr. Lewis Walker Social Justice Youth Award is given to Kalamazoo students between the ages of 12 and 19 in honor of Walker, an activist who has worked for racial equity in Kalamazoo.
The winners must have demonstrated leadership in the area of racial and social justice through community service and volunteerism. Along with a plaque, the winners received $200. The winners were were nominated by adults, who worked with the students in volunteer capacities.
Brown was nominated by Sveri Stromstra May, a Loy Norrix teacher and advisor for the social activism group PeaceJam.
“Taylor is a unique individual when working on a PeaceJam project or a collaborative group project at school. She wants to help the others around her to be the best they can be while making sure the project is done in a meaningful, organized and worthwhile way,” May said in her nomination.
May praised Brown’s collaborative leadership style saying, “She listens and listens very attentively to those she is working with. She incorporates their ideas into the work to be done and in the end makes sure that the final project is to the high standards it needs to be.”
Brown’s volunteer activities include: serving meals to the homeless at First Presbyterian Church and the Dream Center, helping with children’s activities at the Society for Creative Anachronism, serving as president of Greenschool at Loy Norrix to work on environmental issues, belonging to the National Honor Society, working as a Link Crew leader, and being a member of the 2017 Loy Norrix Senior Class Executive Board.
As a member of PeaceJam, Brown connects students with Nobel Peace laureates, has helped organize a Pumpkin Painting Party to provide decorations to nonprofit agencies, and helps younger students with the Loy Norrix/Edison Literacy Project.
Moss was nominated for his honor by Jennifer Heymoss, program director with Jeter’s Leaders.
“Although Isaac is only a sophomore in high school, he has already shown his commitment to bettering the community through his deep commitment to the Jeter’s Leaders program,” Heymoss wrote in her nomination. “He is very busy with school and extracurricular activities, but he still comes to every volunteer event on time and even signs up for extra events when he can.”
Moss completed nearly 70 hours of community service last year.
Moss served on the planning committee for the 2016 Youth Summit on Racism, attending nearly every planning session. When members of the committee said a discussion about police brutality needed to happen between youth and the police, he took it upon himself to contact Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and to set up a session.
“Isaac is aware of social justice issues and actively seeks to learn and understand multiple perspectives,” Heymoss wrote.
In addition to his work with Jeter’s Leaders and on the Youth Summit on Racism Planning Committee, Moss volunteers at the Peace House as a school year mentor and summer program worker.
Taylor Brown is pictured with Ron Foor, community president of Fifth Third Bank, sponsor of her award.
Isaac Moss is pictured with John Pinkster, director of South Operations for Life EMS, which sponsored his award.