REEBOK, ALABAMA STATE UNIVERSITY AND THE ACLU ANNOUNCE RECIPIENTS OF THE 2021 REEBOK HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD
BOSTON, MASS, Aug 12, 2021 – Today Reebok, in Partnership with Alabama State University (ASU) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), announces the recipients of the revitalized Reebok Human Rights Award, which honors extraordinary young human rights activists under 30 years of age.
This year’s winners are three incredible activists who are working to dismantle one of the greatest threats to human rights – systemic racism. The recipients are LaTonya Myers (Philadelphia) Eva Maria Lewis (Chicago) and Hernán Carvente-Martinez (New York). Each honoree will be given a $100,000 award to support their important work.
Each winner will be celebrated at a special virtual ceremony taking place later today at 3-5pm EST / 12-2pm PST. To stream the event live please visit https://www.reebokhumanrightsaward.com.
“We are thrilled to celebrate LaTonya, Eva Maria and Hernán – three incredibly talented, driven young people who are doing such phenomenal, crucial work to combat systemic racism and support the most marginalized. We know they will continue to achieve great things in the future,” said Matt O’Toole, Reebok President. “And a special thank you to Alabama State University and the ACLU, our close allies in helping us restore the Reebok Human Rights Award for 2021.”
“I am so incredibly honored to receive this award, it will be very instrumental in taking the work I care so deeply about to the next level. It is also so important to trust young Black and Brown people to create the futures we want to see for our communities and self. Opportunities like this, that validate our labor and equip us with the tools to succeed, are tremendously necessary,” said 2021 Reebok Human Rights Award recipient Eva Maria Lewis.
“This recognition goes out to all the young leaders around the country who are fighting to reimagine a world without youth prisons. I am honored to have had the opportunity to go from being a youth leader myself to now coaching and supporting so many other amazing and talented young people over the last nine years since coming out of prison,” said Hernan Carvente-Martinez, Founder/CEO of Healing Ninjas, Inc. “Thank you to Alabama State University, ACLU, and everyone involved in the formation of this award. Let us continue working together to build a world where every young person has the opportunity to live healthy, loving, successful lives. Its time to put an end to the youth prison model and create more pathways for youth to heal.,” said 2021 Reebok Human Rights Award recipient Hernán Carvente-Martinez.
“Tens of thousands of people return to Philadelphia communities from prisons each year — I was one of those people. Once I was finally free of the restrictions and restraints of the criminal systems, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to helping others. My life’s work is to not only lessen the burden placed on those within the system, but to find ways for folks to thrive once they are free from it. I started my organization, Above All Odds to do just that. I am incredibly grateful for, and humbled by the recognition of my work by Reebok, ACLU, and Alabama State University by awarding me the Reebok Human Rights Award. I am eager to continue to elevate the lives of those impacted by systems of oppression and celebrate the successes of our community members as they thrive ABOVE ALL ODDS, ” said 2021 Reebok Human Rights Award recipient LaTonya Myers.
THE 2021 REEBOK HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD RECIPIENTS
Eva Maria Lewis
Eva Maria is the Founder and Executive Director of the Free Root Operation, a non-profit organization focusing on combatting gun violence in Black and Brown communities on the south and west sides of Chicago. Free Root Operation, which Eva Maria started when she was 16, promotes access to an equitable education, food, housing, health, and other resources as solutions for violence. Eva Maria launched the first FRO initiative, Education Emancipation, as a high school senior; the program has been partners with a local public school for over four years to create “peace rooms” as a disciplinary alternative aimed at disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline present in many Black and Brown public schools. She started the Chicago Food Pairing Program in the wake of mass grocery store closures in 2020, which serves as a free grocery and supply delivery service for those who express a need, builds relationships between people on opposite sides of Chicago, and helps people feel empowered, taken care of, and deeply connected with their community. Eva Maria’s organization has served over 500 families and 2,000 individuals via food acquisition and delivery; her peace rooms have been used by over 600 students, while nearly 3,000 are benefitting from her work on a continual basis.
In 2018, Eva Maria represented the United States of America in Paris at the Human Rights Defenders Summit and she has also spoken at the United Nations and TEDxTeen in NYC. Last year she wrote a public eulogy for Breonna Taylor’s birthday with Breonna’s friends and family, which was featured in Teen Vogue. She is finishing her undergraduate degree in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania this Fall.
Hernán is the Founder and CEO of Healing Ninjas, Inc. a recently launched company that focuses on ensuring that mental health and healing resources become more visible and accessible to communities of color. After being incarcerated at a young age and struggling with substance abuse, gang life and mental health issues, Hernán started working at the Youth First Initiative where he led the creation of the Youth Leaders Network; engaging youth leaders from 14 states to work together to hone their leadership, advocacy and communication skills to help advance their local campaigns focused on abolishing youth prisons. His work focused on uplifting the human rights of the most marginalized youth in the U.S, those who have been incarcerated across the country in the juvenile justice system.
During the past nine years as a young organizer and entrepreneur, Hernán has advocated for impacted youth in justice campaigns, provided professional coaching and connected youth with mentors, coaches and allies, advised adult allies on how to work directly with impacted youth, and advised media outlets on how to cover youth justice issues. Hernán has set out to achieve a society where youth prisons do not exist, and young people are paid livable wages, receive the coaching and support they need to work well, as well as healing in order to thrive in everyday life.
LaTonya, founder of the grassroots service and advocacy organization Above All Odds, is fiercely dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system, supporting returning citizens, and empowering communities that have experienced historical disinvestment and disproportionate targeting by law enforcement. She invests time, energy and financial resources into mentoring African American and LGBTQIA youth. Once incarcerated herself, LaTonya now visits prisons and jails to assist those who are currently detained, and helps returning citizens with jobs and housing. She mobilizes community members, activists, and elected officials to raise awareness of issues within the criminal legal system, and has testified before the Pennsylvania legislature, calling for probation reform legislation.
LaTonya hosts community programming such as book bag drives, “welcome home” events, and the Probation Awards Ceremony, which celebrates people who are making meaningful contributions to the community while on probation and parole. In addition, LaTonya has raised over $23,000 for COVID relief, coordinating tangible and in-kind donations of goods and services such as winter coats, transportation and PPE. She has also facilitated the bailout of nearly 700 individuals being held on pre-trial confinement.
Throughout the nomination period Reebok received over 100 submissions. The additional seven finalists are as follows:
- Julian Robert Crosby (Jacksonville, FL), Gravity Magazine
- Anjali Dhaliwal (Surrey, BC, Canada), Youth Helping Youth
- Ishikaa Kothari (Closter, NJ), Take Action, Inc
- Crystal Russell (Montgomery, AL), Destiny Driven Inc
- Frantzy Luzincourt (Brooklyn, NY), Strategy for Black Lives
- Arielle King (Albany, NY), Writing Wrong
- Bryan Shakeem Latrail Thompson (Fort Pierce, FL), Youth OUTright
THE 2021 REEBOK HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD SUMMIT
The Reebok Human Rights Award Summit will take place virtually and feature a keynote address from activist and #MeToo founder Tarana Burke. In addition, there will be a spoken word piece by poet, activist and Reebok Human Rights Award Board member Sara Mora, and the three recipients will participate in a panel hosted by National Civil Rights Organizer and Reebok Human Rights Award Board member Tiffany Dena Loftin. The Summit will also feature guest appearances from Reebok partners including Shaquille O’Neal, Dee Brown, Lexie Brown, and more.
The Reebok Human Rights Award program, which previously ran from 1988 to 2007, has a legacy of more than 80 recipients from nearly 40 countries. The legacy program highlighted individuals doing impactful work to promote human rights and fight injustice and provided funds to help them continue in their vocation. Past recipients include Winona LaDuke (1988); Li Lui, Wang Dan, Chai Ling, and Wu’Er KaiXi (1989); Bryan Stevenson (1989); Van Jones (1998); and Vanita Gupta (2004).
The program’s Board of Advisors includes Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU; Amber Hikes, Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer of the ACLU; Hall of Fame rugby player and entrepreneur Phaidra Knight (ASU Alumna); Dr. Regina Moorer, Assistant Professor at ASU; immigrant rights activist Sara Mora; National Civil Rights Organizer Tiffany Dena Loftin; former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal; and Reebok Vice President of Creative Direction and Founder of Pyer Moss, Kerby Jean-Raymond.
For further information please visit HERE.
Dan SarroCorporate CommunicationsUnited Statesdaniel.email@example.com+1 781 401 4443
Andrea NirsimlooM&C Saatchi Sport & Ent.United Statesandrea.firstname.lastname@example.org
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