By: Evanston Township High School
Published: May 14, 2015
Andre Wallace, a senior at Evanston Township High School, is the 2015 recipient of the Chicago Princeton Prize in Race Relations. The Princeton Prize is a national awards program that recognizes high school student-leaders from around the country who work toward improving race relations in their communities.
Wallace was unanimously chosen for the award by the Chicago committee which considers many students from the Chicagoland area who have been involved in promoting harmony, respect and understanding among people of different races. "Andre exemplifies the Princeton Prize and we are pleased to recognize and be associated with his good works," said committee chair Carl Yudell.
After participating in The Leadership Project, a program of Youth Organizations Umbrella (Y.O.U.) in summer of 2014, Wallace spearheaded two projects during the 2014-15 school year at ETHS. The projects focused on a succinct aspect of diversity awareness known as microaggressions. He first started a hashtag project called #itooamawildkit. Through Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites, Evanston students were encouraged to use social media to discuss various microaggressions they experienced on a daily basis and, as a result, engage with their peers in conversations about race.
Wallace then helped organize an all-day "Facing Microaggressions" program at ETHS in December 2014. The program allowed students, faculty and staff to learn about microaggressions. After a brief overview and training, each of the students silently walked around a classroom for several minutes and wrote about their experiences with microaggressions in race, gender, sexual orientation and religion. The students then discussed what they and others had written down. By the end of the day, over 400 high school students, staff and faculty had participated in the program.
Wallace continues to develop microaggression programming and work on other diversity awareness projects in the Evanston community. In February 2015 ETHS’ Students Organized Against Racism (SOAR) group collaborated with Northwestern University on a two-day race relations conference with students from ETHS and surrounding districts. Wallace, who is a member of SOAR’s Student Leadership Board, was among nearly 100 high school students to participate in the program. He is also a member of the high school’s teamASAP (team Access and Success in Advanced Placement).
"I have always known Andre to be a leader around issues of racial equity. When Andre was a sophomore, he attended one of the first conferences about racial equity hosted by ETHS for students and three years later, Andre was facilitating that conference as a student leader for other students on the North Shore," stated Marcus Campbell, ETHS Assistant Superintendent and Principal. "Andre’s voice and convictions are strong. He is a model leader for justice as his advocacy for racial equity has truly had an impact on ETHS and the larger community."
Sponsored by Princeton University’s Alumni Association, the Princeton Prize in Race Relations awards program is available to grade 9-12 students in 24 cities and regions. The prize includes a $1,000 cash award, and an all-expenses paid trip to the annual Princeton Prize Symposium on Race held April 24-25 in Princeton, NJ. More information is available online at: http://www.princeton.edu/pprize/