Not in Our Town Princeton honored eight local high school students at the annual Unity Award ceremony and reception on June 5 at Princeton University’s Carl A. Fields Center.
All of the honorees received certificates and cash awards for being role models in their efforts to promote respect for diversity and to advance the cause of race relations. They also received certificates from U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, presented by Calvin Reed.
Co-chaired by residents Linda Oppenheim and Larry Spruill, Not in Our Town Princeton is an
interracial, interfaith social action group that speaks out against racism and other forms of prejudice and discrimination. Board members Wilma Solomon and Shirley Satterfield, along with Spruill, presented the Unity Awards.
Awardees included Princeton High School seniors Luis Lazo-Silva, Edgar Morales, Sumaiyya Stephens, and Sophia Vargas. Princeton High junior Jamaica Ponder, was honored as an “Upstander” for sounding an alarm about students playing an anti-Semitic drinking game.
Three youth members of Not in Our Town’s board also were honored. Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi, juniors at Princeton High School, co-founded CHOOSE, a student organization that uses personal conversations on issues of race to assist classroom teachers to comfortably and honestly facilitate discussions of race and culture. Ziad Ahmed, a junior at Princeton Day School, founded redefy, a national organization that attempts to defy seemingly unchangeable stereotypes. The three had also received a national award, the Princeton Prize in Race Relations.
Founded in 1998, Not in Our Town presents a monthly discussion series, Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege, in cooperation with the Princeton Public Library. Not in Our Town also sponsors book readings, workshops, film series, panels, and anti-racism demonstrations.