Cornell Students 4 Black Lives Wins James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial and Intercultural Peace and Harmony

Cornell Students 4 Black Lives e-board members, winner of the 26th annual James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial and Intercultural Peace and Harmony, clockwise from upper left: Glenn Asuo-Asante ’21, Shivali Halabe ’22, Ashley Bishop ’22, Sherell Farmer ’22, Yu An Chen ’22, Avery Williams ’22, Ufuoma Thaddeus ’22 and Basirat Owe ’21.

Cornell Students 4 Black Lives, a student-led organization that last year formed a diverse coalition of more than 290 social, cultural and professional organizations, was awarded the 26th annual James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial and Intercultural Peace and Harmony during a virtual ceremony May 6.

Each year, the Perkins Prize is awarded to a Cornell program, organization or event making the most significant contribution to furthering the ideal of university community while respecting values of diversity.

“Cornell’s commitment to diversity and inclusion goes back to our very beginning, but we must always refresh that commitment, and the ways in which we pursue it must always be evolving,” President Martha E. Pollack said during the event.

Cornell Students 4 Black Lives was established in 2020 with a summer fundraiser that raised $118,000 to support local, state and national nonprofits that demand justice for Black lives. The group educates on Black issues and partners with other Black activist organizations on campus, including the Cornell Abolitionist Revolutionary Society and Black Students United, to push for institutional anti-racist change.

“The Perkins Prize highlights the progress we have made, yet the need [remains] to continue to push forward towards greater equity and inclusion,” said Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life. “Students, you inspire us, you motivate us. We’re in awe of you and we’re honored to be a part of your educational journey.”

Cornell Trustee Emeritus Thomas W. Jones ’69, MRP ’72, who endowed the Perkins Prize in 1994 in honor of former Cornell President James A. Perkins, delivered opening remarks.

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SOURCE: Cornell University, Amy Gaulke