Jazmine Shaw


Jazmine Shaw is a junior at David Brearley Middle/High School in Kenilworth, where she serves on the executive board of the school's Race Matters Alliance. Formed three years ago by several members of the all-white faculty, students of color, and parents, the group's aim is to open a space to speak about race at the predominantly white school. Jazmine, an 8th grader at the time, was one of the few middle school students to participate and became a leading voice for the group. Jazmine wrote an essay about her experiences as a black student in a mostly white school district that was published on the blog of NYU's Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. In addition, she participated on a panel to assist Montclair State University pre-service teachers in addressing race issues in the classroom. Her work resulted in her being named a runner-up for the 2018 Princeton Prize in Race Relations. This award, along with her experiences interacting with professors, researchers, and activists, increased Jazmine's confidence in her ability to make a difference in her own school. Frustrated with the fact that she and her peers could not see themselves in the school curriculum, she developed a plan for an ethnic studies class at David Brearley High School. She consulted with a professor at St. John's University and reached out to the International Youth Leadership Institute. These contacts helped her to produce a proposal which she presented to her school's administration, securing a commitment to establish an ethnic studies course beginning in the fall of 2020. This summer, Jazmine will assist her principal in developing the curriculum for that course.