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.
Andre 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, Andre 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 in conversations about race.
He then helped organize an all-day “Facing Microaggressions” program at ETHS last December. 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, more than 400 high school students, staff and faculty had participated in the program.