2125 Reservoir Street, Los Angeles, CA 90026 310-704-3217
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 22, 2007
For information: Andy Griggs, 310-704-3217,
Third Annual Youth Activism Awards Announced
The California Teachers Association Peace and Justice Caucus announced the recipients of their Third Annual Youth Activism Awards, which will be awarded at the CTA State Council in a ceremony at 5 PM on Saturday, January 27, 2007, in the Santa Barbara C room at the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
The awards honor student groups and individuals for their activist work in various areas of human rights, social justice, and student empowerment. Nominations were solicited from groups and individual educators throughout the state.
“Some of the work these young people did is truly amazing,” said Andy Griggs, one of the co-chairs of the Peace and Justice Caucus and a judge in the awards process. “The projects undertaken are really impressive, and proves that the youth of our state are aware of issues that affect their lives.”
“We had many excellent nominees, and narrowing the field down to eleven to receive special recognition was quite difficult,” according to co-chair and judge Mary Prophet. “Our choice was to recognize all the nominees for their work. We also added a new honor, the Paul Mann Peace and Justice Award, which will be given to two recipients.” This reward is a memorial to a former chair of the NEA Peace and Justice Caucus who passed away earlier this year.
Those who will receive special recognition at the ceremony include 6 student groups and 5 individuals.
Receiving Certificates of Commendation in recognition for their work will go to the following groups and individuals: Venice High School Human Rights Watch Student Task Force (Los Angeles), the Los Angeles Bahai Center Youth Group, the Washington High School Eagles Service Society (San Francisco), Bushra Yaseen (San Francisco), Juan Castellanos (Carson), John Tice (Fountain Valley), Erminia Garcia (Carson), and Jada Woodward (Novato).
“These awards have grown in scope and have become a highlight in the Caucus' year,” according to Bill Balderston, who conceived of the awards and was the third judge. “We can only hope it will continue to grow, and that the youth we recognize today will become our leaders of tomorrow.” Other judges included Emma Rosenthal and Jacquelyn Smith.
The award winners are:
Stephanie Jones - Oakland: Stephanie Jones is a model of both social conscience and activism. She has worked on surveying health and welfare needs at the school. Armed with that knowledge, she has developed several projects to empower students at Oakland Tech to express themselves and to develop goals and reach them.
Douglas Bell - San Mateo Douglas Bell is a peace Club founder and president, PTASA and PTA District committee chairman, community peace activist and advocate of student empowerment before the Board of Education.
Ida Cutter - San Francisco: In elementary school, Ida fought for safer streets around her school and a local hospital. Later she arranged a day of silence in support of GLBT youth. She was part of a Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue Camp and most recently, with a youth group called Revolution Youth, helped organize a successful campaign to phase out the JROTC program from the San Francisco schools.
Lizette Avila - San Pablo: Lizette Avila is co-founder and president of the Richmond High School chapter of Amnesty International, a youth organizer for Save Tookie Williams campaign, Youth Action team member for Alternatives to War Through Education and Youth organizer for School of the Americas Watch.
Daniel Santana - Lynwood: Daniel Santana is President of Lynwood High School MECHA, a peace and community activist in support of the South Central Farm and in opposition to the NFL stadium in Lynwood. He is an artist activist who creates flyers, paintings and drawings and a poet and spoken word artist at Tia Chucha's Café.
San Pedro High School Peace Club - San Pedro: The San Pedro High School Peace Club meets weekly. This year members educated students about the “Torture Bill,” (the War Commissions Act), attended rallies, wrote letters to several jailed conscientious objectors, and held campus rallies about the Torture Bill and the war in Iraq. The Club worked for anti-war candidates, and have shown and attended movies about Iraq. Future plans include visits and volunteering at Veterans Hospital-Long Beach.
The Activist - San Pedro: The Activist is a student run, community publication with the mission of turning observers into leaders, re-sensitizing the minds and hearts of people numbed by the modern media, showing that with dedication and thought one person CAN make a difference, promoting peace, education, awareness and empathy and compassion… and ACTION, and most importantly to make this world a place where anyone can say their PEACE!
Organize Da' Bay - Oakland/Richmond: Organize Da Bay is a coalition of youth dedicated to collective action to reclaim public education including Youth Together, Californians for Justice, Oakland Kids Fist, AYPAL, Huaxtec and the Xicana Moratorium Coalition. Their demands include non-compliance with No Child Left Behind; restore Local Control to Oakland Schools, fully Fund Prop 98, Equally Distribute These Funds and no High School Exit Exam.
Rosa Parks Social Justice Award
Zahra Billoo - Alhambra: Zahra Billoo has served as Steering Committee Member of the CSULB Campus Progressive Caucus, Treasurer, Public Relations Chair of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), Communications Director for MSA- WEST and Political Action Task Force/Communications Director of MSA- National. She was also Secretary of Governmental Relations and Secretary of System-wide Affairs of the Associated Students, Inc. She has shared governance in the Middle East Committee of CSULB, the President's Student Advisory Committee, the University Resources Council, the Student Fee Advisory Committee and the Campus Climate Committee. She has volunteered as a Sunday School Teacher of the San Gabriel Mosque, the LA Chapter of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the LA Chapter of ANSWER and the San Francisco General Assistance Advocacy Project.
Paul Mann Peace and Justice Award
Abraham Osegura, David Rojas, and Daisy Sanchez - Livingston: On Sunday November 5, 2006, Jesse, a 14-year old boy, known to the award recipients, was shot by what appeared to be a gang member. Out of the discussion and grief and shock, these students developed a campaign to let the City Council and other governmental officials know that they must act to address the issues of safety in the community.
Robert A. Millikan High School Student Energy Team- Long Beach: The Robert A. Millikan High School Student Energy Team is a group of 35 high performing students who volunteered their time to prepare and teach energy lessons to students and community members on the topics of energy forms and transformations, electricity, wind power, solar power, energy conservation in the home, and hydrogen fuel cells. They have presented their lessons to over 45 classrooms and 1800 students. Last year, to highlight solar energy, students built a solar boat and competed in Solar Cup 2006, ending 12th, with plans to reenter the competition again this year.
*red lettering denotes local groups that have won awards.