KPS Students, Alums Win Social Justice Awards
Young People Honored for Community Volunteerism
The City of Kalamazoo 2019 Social Justice Youth Awards were given to six current and former Kalamazoo Public School students for their leadership, volunteerism and advocacy for racial and social justice. All of the winners demonstrated a commitment to social justice through a wide range of community involvement and activism.
The social justice awards were originally named after Dr. Lewis Walker, the first African American Ph.D. faculty member at Western Michigan University. The Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations was named after Walker.
The students were honored following the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Community Wide Day of Service. In addition to a plaque, each student received a $200 award.
Gregory Culp, Loy Norrix High School, nominated by Chris Aguinaga, principal, Loy Norrix
Community activities: True Heroes Under God, T.J. Duckett Career Training Camp, Salvation Army, and Loy Norrix PeaceJam
“He carries himself with a heart to help anybody regardless of their race, religion, sexuality or disability and even extends that to adults who work with or visit the school. He looks at all people the way he would like them to view him, not necessarily all the same. He believes that all people need some kind of help and is always looking for ways to help them.”
He received the Lodge-Dennis Social Justice Youth Award, which is named in honor of the families of Dr. Betty and Tony Dennis, Western Michigan University.
Kaylana Jones, Kalamazoo Central High School, nominated by Lola Atkinson, first vice president, Metropolitan Kalamazoo NAACP
Community activities: YWCA, Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes, Ministry with Community, Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, and the NAACP
“Her passion to help her class and her community allows her to commit to leadership positions. She also works with others on her councils, so delegating jobs is something she often has to do. Kaylana is sure to stay knowledgeable on her rights and to speak up for herself or anyone she feels is being treated unjustly. She also treats others with kindness and respect and not as less than a person because she is aware that we are all equal.”
She received the Dr. Lewis Walker Social Justice Youth Award.
Emma Knutson, Loy Norrix High School, nominated by Sveri Stromsta May, Loy Norrix teacher and PeaceJam advisor
Community activities: PeaceJam, Link Crew, National Honor Society. She has worked on many PeaceJam projects including the clothing drive, food drive, literacy project, and Serious Fun Global Partnership Fundraiser.
“Emma demonstrates leadership with smiles, her energy, her willingness to help others to share their talents and time, and her drive to see a project from conception to finish. Emma is a person who puts others’ needs and concerns in front of hers, makes sure no one is left behind and that their ideas and voices are listened to.”
She received the Schupan and Sons Social Justice Youth Award.
Tanner Luther, Loy Norrix High School, nominated by Pete Aerts, City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation
Community activities: Counselor in Training for Parks and Recreation, Open Roads Youth Advisory Board, Jeter’s Leaders, and Link Crew
“Our summer camps are extremely diverse and Tanner engages with all of the children. The campers love being around him, because he genuinely cares for them and wants the best for them. He gets along with each kid and finds a way to connect with them so that at any time he can be an asset to them. He does what he can every day to ensure that all kids are trying new opportunities, that they are engaging with one another, and that they are treating each other kindly.”
He received the Fifth-Third Bank Social Justice Youth Award.
Trinity Scott, Kalamazoo Valley Community College (Kalamazoo Central alumna), nominated by Galilee Baptist Church mentor Sadie Miles
Community activities: Kalamazoo Metropolitan Branch of the NAACP, Galilee Baptist Church Youth Ministry, Kalamazoo Central National Honor Society, and FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America)
“Trinity ensures that all people are treated without prejudice through her leadership as president of the Galilee Baptist Church Youth Ministry. The young people that join the church are of all colors and creeds. Trinity is oftentimes the first young person they meet, and she goes the extra mile to make sure they are both included and accepted willingly by the members at Galilee.”
She received the Life EMS Social Justice Youth Award.
Delores Shackelford, Kalamazoo College (Kalamazoo Central alumna), nominated by Lisa Boulding, Kalamazoo Central teacher and advisor for the FCCLA
Community activities: FCCLA, City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation, and Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes
“Delores understands that we all have so much to learn and so much empathy and understanding to share with one another. Through her work in our Kalamazoo community and within the state of Michigan through FCCLA, she has learned to embrace and celebrate how special and different we all are. Delores ensures all persons are treated equally and without prejudice through her dedication and work with the homeless and underprivileged, as well as those of different races, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientation.”
She received the Consumers Energy Social Justice Youth Award.
Cutline: Winners of the City of Kalamazoo 2019 Social Justice Awards are, from left, Gregory Culp, Loy Norrix; Kaylana Jones, Kalamazoo Central; Emma Knutson, LN; Dr. Lewis Walker, for whom the awards were originally named; Delores Shackelford, K-College, KC alumna; Tanner Luther, LN; and Trinity Scott, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, KC alumna.