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Wilson High School student recognized by Princeton for work in race relations

A Wilson High School student and member of the Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading has been recognized by Princeton University for her work in advancing race relations, the corps announced.

Kemi Ojikutu, a junior at Wilson and member of the YVC, received the Princeton Prize in Race Relations for her outstanding dedication to advancing racial equity and understanding in her community through her leadership in the YVC Stand Together Against Racism, or STAR, initiative.

Founded in 2003, the Princeton Prize acknowledges high school students around the nation who, through their volunteer endeavors, have undertaken significant efforts to promote racial equity and foster understanding in their schools or communities.

Ojikutu will participate in a symposium on race to be held in April on the Princeton University cmapus in New Jersey, where she will have an opportunity to meet and learn from other prize recipients from across the country and to speak with others in engaged in racial justice work.

Ojikutu was recognized for her exemplary commitment to combating racism and injustice, according to YVC leaders.

As part of her involvement in the corps over the past two years, Ojikutu dedicated more than 300 hours of service to the community, primarily through the YVC STAR initiative.

One of the initiative’s strongest student leaders, she co-leads a weekly STAR discussion club at her high school, aiming to educate her peers about racism and its impacts, the release said.

“Kemi is an extraordinary force within the STAR initiative,” said Christi Terefenko, executive director of VOiCEup Berks and adult adviser to the STAR initiative. “Her dedication, passion and innovative approach to addressing racism inspire everyone around her. She embodies the spirit of leadership and activism, and her impact resonates far beyond her community.”

In addition to Ojikutu’s efforts at Wilson, she serves as a countywide STAR student ambassador, actively supporting the establishment of STAR clubs in other local high schools and contributing to leading county-wide projects.

These projects include organizing monthly student-led film discussions on racial topics, cultural heritage awareness events and educational workshops.

Terefenko said Ojikutu’s leadership and dedication exemplify the spirit of the Princeton Prize, and her efforts have positively impacted countless individuals in her community and beyond.

Her work even extended internationally when she initiated a collaborative relationship with an anti-racism student club in South Korea. Through this collaboration, STAR plans to launch several global youth-driven anti-racism projects this spring to spread its message of acceptance worldwide, the release said.

Ojikutu is a daughter of Dr. Olubunmi K. Ojikutu and Bolaji Ojikutu.

STAR was established in 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis and has evolved into a dynamic youth-driven initiative, engaging hundreds of individuals in  anti-racism projects annually. The initiative aims to address racism and injustice through education and dialogue involving young people.

VOiCEup Berks’s stated mission is to enhance the quality of life in Berks County by inspiring and engaging people in making a positive difference in their communities. The nonprofit fosters a spirit of volunteerism and community service through programs, including the Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading.

For more information about the STAR initiative, contact info@voiceupberks.org or visit www.yvc-star.org.


Source: Berkshire mont

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