Students at Hope College will receive the 2017 Youth Social Justice Award from Holland's Human Relations Commission for their leadership in organizing the Tuesday, Oct. 31, march and rally held to advocate for those impacted by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
The award will recognize the three student organizations that co-sponsored the event — Hope Democrats, Hope United for Justice and the Latino Student Organization — and the six students who were its primary planners: junior Julia Fulton of Colton, New York; sophomore Jocelyn Gallegos of Berwyn, Illinois; senior Alejandra Gomez Limon of Rochester; junior Ye Ji Jun of Seongnam, South Korea; junior Frina Redoloza of Sunnyvale, California; and sophomore Nancy Sierra of Dallas, Texas. It will be presented along with this year’s other Social Justice Awards by Holland’s Human Relations Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. at Holland City Hall.
The “Blessing Not a Burden” march and rally was held to raise awareness of issues of immigration; to show support for students and community members affected by the Sept. 5 announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinding DACA; and to empower students to action. Approximately 300 members of the Hope and Holland communities participated.
The march began at the Pine Grove in the central Hope campus and concluded with a rally at Holland City Hall. Speakers at the rally included Nancy DeBoer, mayor of Holland; Gallegos; Gomez Limon; Roberto Jara, executive director of Latin Americans United for Progress; Dr. Cady Short-Thompson, provost of Hope College; and the Rev. Gordon Wiersma, co-pastor of Hope Church.
The Social Justice Awards recognize individuals and organizations that exemplify the virtues of social justice by promoting equal opportunity and access for all citizens. In addition to the Youth Social Justice Award, which is selected by the Holland Youth Advisory Council, the categories are housing, education, employment and government/community relations. More than 50 recipients have been honored since 1998.
Traditionally, the Human Relations Commission presents the awards during the week of Martin Luther King Day since he dedicated his life to improve the quality of life for everyone and bridge relationships among all people based on mutual respect. The presentation on Wednesday, Jan. 17, also corresponds with the college’s Civil Rights Celebration week, which this year begins on Monday, Jan. 15, with the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Lecture and continuing through a day of service in the community by students on Saturday, Jan. 20.
Holland City Hall is located at 270 River Ave., across from Centennial Park between 11th and 12th streets.