By Wendy Greenberg
The racial justice group Not In Our Town Princeton (NIOT) has recognized nine middle school and high school students with Unity Awards for their anti-racism work that ranged from hosting a “Day of Dialogue,” to creating a series of podcasts featuring interviews with African American staff at Princeton High School (PHS).
In its 25th year, the Unity Awards honored six juniors and one senior from PHS and one eighth-grader each from Princeton Middle School (PMS) and Princeton Charter School, in June at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton. Also recognized were PHS teachers Joy Barnes-Johnson and Patricia Manhart for creating the Racial Literacy and Justice course at PHS.
The group also honored Shirley Satterfield, a former guidance counselor at PHS, who has a long history with the awards. A Princeton historian, Satterfield recalled that the awards were begun at three area churches, and she got involved because of her work with Pride, Unity, Leadership, Sisterhood and Esteem (PULSE) at PHS, which involved young women in academic enrichment programs.
Satterfield selected the first recipient, Alison Welski, in 1998, who now is a public health professional, and she was happily surprised by Welski’s appearance at the recent awards ceremony.
The awards have evolved and expanded over the years, she said. A selection committee carefully goes over applications and recommendations.
NIOT is a multi-racial, multi-faith group of individuals “who stand together for racial justice and inclusive communities, focused on promoting the equitable treatment of all, and uncovering and confronting white supremacy — the system that facilitates the preference, privilege, and power of white people at the expense of non-white people and pits racial and ethnic groups against each other by upholding hierarchies based on proximity to whiteness,” according to the organization. more