Peace Education Center to Honor Local Peacemakers
Above, clockwise from top left: Alex Hosey, Danny Kaplowitz, RoJe Williams, and David Wiley.
Four Lansing-area high school students who made headlines by refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem prior to a football game will be among those being honored by the East Lansing-based Peace Education Center next Saturday.
In all, eight local high school students will be presented with the organization’s Peacemaker Award and a long-time peace activist, David Wiley, will be honored with the center’s Lifetime Peacemaker Award during its annual meeting and potluck celebration.
The meeting will run from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, at the University United Methodist Church on Harrison Road in East Lansing and is open to the public. The gathering starts with a potluck social and everyone is welcome to bring a dish to share.
“This was a great year for young people,” said PEC co-chair Becky Payne. “In looking at candidates, we were very impressed by the commitment and determination of several area high schoolers who acted in somewhat controversial ways to support causes they believed in.”
The four Lansing Catholic High School students being honored for “taking a knee” to protest racism are RoJe Williams, Matthew Abdullah, Mikey Lynn III and Kabbash Richards.
Alex Hosey of East Lansing High School also will receive a Peacemaker Award. Hosey chose not to stand for the national anthem prior to basketball games. His essay on his decision, “Why I Sit,” prompted the East Lansing City Council to issue a formal apology on the City’s past complicity in racism and convene a special recent public event about racism in East Lansing.
Three students will be given the Tom Schneider Peacemaker Award, which includes a scholarship for graduating high school seniors from Ingham, Eaton, or Clinton counties. Recipients are chosen based on their passion and commitment toward building a more peaceful and just world. The awardees are Danny Kaplowitz, East Lansing High School; Ella Signs, Bath High School; and Maricela Tapia, Waverly High School.
In addition, Michigan State University Professor Emeritus David Wiley will receive the center’s Lifetime Peacemaker Award. Wiley was the long-time director of MSU’s African Studies Center and co-founder and leader of the Concerned African Scholars Association. He also led local efforts to end apartheid in South Africa. He is active with Edgewood United Church’s Justice and Peace Team, the Greater Lansing United Nations Association, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation Advocacy Team.
“We hope these awards serve to thank those who stood for their beliefs and inspire them and others to know that working toward a better world does not go unnoticed,” said PEC co-chair Terry Link.
The PEC is a local nonprofit that has provided education and programming for the greater Lansing area about alternatives to war, violence, militarism and injustice for nearly 50 years.
For more information on the awards ceremony or the center, visit its website at www.peaceedcenter.org or contact Link at (517) 775-2910.