Calvin Bell III

2020 - NEW JERSEY (CENTRAL/SOUTHERN REGION)

Calvin Bell III is a senior at Moorestown Friends School in Moorestown, New Jersey. Calvin serves as a co-clerk of Moorestown Friends School's Diversity Committee and the president of his school's Martin Luther King Jr. Club. Near the end of Calvin's junior year, he started a capstone project entitled "Community Engagement in the City of Camden and its Impact on the Rates of Violence." Calvin's project was inspired by the way violence and the criminal justice system impact individual lives, like that of his incarcerated father. Through his research, Calvin merged his passion for politics and activism with the history and testimonies he received. By presenting information on stereotypes about Camden and the people who live there, not only to students of color but also to white faculty and peers from affluent areas, Calvin hoped to foster an understanding of why Camden is perceived to be dangerous by others and spread the importance of getting involved in community activism throughout his school and other communities. As a diversity clerk at Moorestown Friends, Calvin leads a Diversity Committee of upper school students in discussions identifying how to cultivate equity through initiatives for students of color. One of these efforts includes broadening his school's history curriculum by offering Marginalized Groups and Women’s Studies in which students dive into the lives of minorities. Furthermore, Calvin worked alongside his Diversity Committee co-clerk and several peer facilitators to implement student-led affinity group spaces for the first time in Moorestown Friends School history — including the Black Student Union that Calvin facilitates. Outside of school, Calvin is an active member of his local NAACP, where he seeks to create initiatives on issues including juvenile incarceration and mental health. Calvin also worked at Senator Cory Booker's office in Camden during the summer to advocate on behalf of the senator’s constituents dealing with the criminal justice system.