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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Inspiring efforts to improve race relations


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Winners of the 2008 Princeton Prize in Race Relations present their projects at the first-ever Princeton Prize Symposium on Race. Read Story


Video Closed Captions

Marguerite Vera:
We want to make sure all of our prize winners get the opportunity to talk about their work.

Rasha Harvey:
My school was founded in 1867, and the first African American graduated in 1987.

Shweta Mukesh:
And people at my school would come up to me and ask me, "Is Darfur a college?" and "Is Sudan part of South America?"

Ali Salas:
In the hallways and the student center, we heard people using the "N-word" all the time, and "That's so gay," and "fag,"

Ali Salas:
and we're like, "This isn't right."

Allen Kent Williams:
And it all started one day in English class when we had a discussion on race, and some of the ideas that people expressed made me realize that

Allen Kent Williams:
they didn't really have any nuance in their, ah, racial politics.

Ochania Ogah:
My junior year, we all had to do a morality project, and I was assigned "human trafficking and immigration,"

Ochania Ogah:
and the stories I read were so profound and so touching.

Anthony Brock:
But we had a vocal group of neo-Nazis come to our town to recruit youth.

Ashtynn Baltimore:
I've experienced many things about my life having to do with racism, but that was the straw that really made me, really put me into action.

Elizabeth Helmer:
And, it was only like a comment here and an act of discrimination there, and then it started to form into a full-blown problem.

Alir Rothwell:
It's like 70 percent of my school are a part of gangs.

Magdalena Rodriguez:
We have a 50 percent dropout rate from our high school. We have a teenage mothers' program in our high school.

Magdalena Rodriguez:
You cannot walk by our high school -- you cannot walk a part of campus if you are wearing a red shirt.

Nicholas Barrows:
I've heard a lot of things like, you know, "Why do you guys act black?" "Why do you guys try to be black?" And my response is, "Well, I am black."

Nychelle Blair:
We're like the most segregated diverse school in Chicago. Like, it's crazy.

Rasha Harvey:
I started an African-American studies club.

Alir Rothwell:
I didn't think twice about becoming a counselor.

Ashtynn Baltimore:
I'm also working on a documentary right now.

Anthony Brock:
When I looked out that night, you know, the place was just packed.

Nicholas Barrows:
The class was implicated into the course of next year of 2008-2009. It is called "Diversity in America."

Nychelle Blair:
A student was paired up with another student for the weekend

Nychelle Blair:
based on religion, race or socio-economic status, and they got the opportunity to walk in the life of another person.

Shweta Mukesh:
So our goal was to educate our students about these atrocities that are committed, educate them on Sudanese culture so that they can get an

Shweta Mukesh:
understanding and truly be the global citizens, because in one year, two years, they're going to be voting, and they should know what's going on.

Ali Salas:
We were questioning, "What's a way that we can actually get the student body to think about what they're saying, the impact of their words,

Ali Salas:
in a way that they'll relate?"

Ali Salas:
And so, we came up with the idea of getting a camera and basically going around where all the students hung out and asking them questions.

Magdalena Rodriguez:
We walked through all the neighborhoods where people have died,

Magdalena Rodriguez:
just to put a face, so people that are in gangs or that are thinking about joining a gang, they can see how much it hurts our community together.

Allen Kent Williams:
So I wrote a poem. I tried to catalog the racial turbulences that are a large part of our country's history. I sought to make connections.

Allen Kent Williams:
I sought to connect slavery with poverty. I sought to connect the past epidemic of lynchings with the current problem of police brutality.

Allen Kent Williams:
I sought to connect the struggles of civil rights activists with the struggles of Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Allen Kent Williams:
More than that, I asked that people have hope that things can change if we have faith in ourselves and faith in humankind,

Allen Kent Williams:
and more importantly, if we speak up.

Ochania Ogah:
Each little section of the bracelet represents a country that has an issue with human trafficking,

Ochania Ogah:
and, of course, a bracelet forms a circle to show that this is a problem that we all must deal with.

Elizabeth Helmer:
I think the only way we're ever going to solve the race relation problem is when we learn to love and respect one another.

Kayla Williams:
I truly believe that diversity and nonviolence is the answer to our political and moral questions of today.

Anthony Brock:
I kind of believe that those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action.

Adeyemi Mchunguzi:
And I think of any of the other Princeton Prize winners would agree that we really want people to think critically about what they're doing,

Adeyemi Mchunguzi:
what they're saying and, you know, address race relations in a very conscious manner.

Gregory Valdez:
Learning about what everyone else did, you know, puts what I've done into perspective.

Kayla Williams:
I really want to thank Princeton Prize for putting on this symposium because it really has... these two days I'll remember for a very, very, very long time.

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