The Essex and Hudson County Committee for the Princeton Prize in Race Relations will make its first award to Robert Edmiston of Montclair at a ceremony in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Community Room on April 30, 2007. Edmiston receives the award for his work in mounting a Latino Film Series at the Montclair Public Library. Edmiston has also shown leadership in his school through his work with the Peer Leadership program, the Minority Student Achievement Network and as a volunteer with the Montclair Adult School’s English as a Second Language program.
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations is an awards program run by alumni/ae of Princeton University to honor high school students who have done significant work to improve race relations within their community. The program is currently awarded in 19 cities and regions around the country. This is the first year that the prize will be awarded in the Essex and Hudson County area.
The recognition ceremony will be held on April 30 at 7 p.m. at NJPAC in the community room. Speakers will include State Senator Nia Gill, who has made local education and issues of race a priority in her years as an elected official, and Frank Bolden, retired vice president of diversity at Johnson & Johnson. Bolden became the first black corporate officer there in 1984.
Edmiston is being recognized for growing the Latino Film Series that was originated five years ago by his sister Christine — with help from her younger brother. After Christine's graduation, Edmiston stepped up to take on an organizing role and saved the film series from its "final show." The series has expanded its reach over time, now attracting more than 60 attendees. In addition, Edmiston has recruited other students to participate, ensuring the continuity of the Latino Film Series. Superintendent of Schools Frank Alvarez said, "With the advent of the Latino Film Series, the conversations on cultures, race and ethnicity just became broader."
The series is produced in conjunction with the Montclair Public Library and is held at the library in the fall. Youth Services Supervisor Maria LaBadia, says, "I have great regard for Robby's rich and giving character … he has been the driving force of the film series."
Two other students will receive honorable mentions for work they have done in their communities. Samiel M.S. Cameron, a student at Columbia High School in Maplewood, will be recognized for her work as a student volunteer with the Coalition on Race. She has organized an upcoming parent-student roundtable called "Highlighting Columbia High School: Facts, Fears and Folklore" to discuss the black-white achievement gap, to be held at her school in mid-April.
In addition, Lilian Dorvil, of Newark, a student at Lacordaire Academy in Montclair, will be recognized for her work in expanding the scope and diversity of the school's Black History Club. As president of the club, which she led in re-naming "Bold Leaders Achieving Courage and Knowledge" (B.L.A.C.K.), Lilian is considered to be an inspirational leader throughout her school community.
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations Committee comprises Princeton graduates from Montclair, Glen Ridge, South Orange, West Orange, Caldwell, Newark, Jersey City and Hoboken. More information on the prize can be found at the Princeton Prize website, or by contacting the co-Chairs Helen Mazarakis or Elaine Morales.