2020 - MARYLAND
Katrina Marinelli is a senior at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. Katrina serves as the president and founder of One Book-One Poly: Breaking the Boundaries, a school and community-wide book club aimed at discussing historical, structural racism in Baltimore City and its effects on the inequities present in education. After driving her friends home from school and soccer practice and witnessing the block-by-block disparities within her city, Katrina decided she wanted to work towards change. Last year's focus was on "redlining" within the city, and the book "Not in My Neighborhood" by Antero Pietila was distributed to 300 interested students and staff. Katrina led a team of 18 students and five faculty members, raising over $10,000 to fund the purchase of the books and event. Later that year, she held a culminating event at her school with the author, local experts in the field, and local organizations to help people get involved around the city. After hearing from the ACLU, a city commissioner, local advocates, and other Baltimore City students, among many others, many of Katrina's fellow students approached her after the event asking to be involved next year. The mission statement for the project is as follows: "With One Book-One Poly: Breaking the Boundaries, we hope to begin to reverse the effects of institutionalized racism. By engaging the entire school in a single social justice issue, using one book per year, and partnering with local social justice organizations, we work toward making Baltimore a more equitable and united city." This year, Katrina has passed her project on to current juniors who have decided to focus on food deserts in Baltimore City. She is still involved in the project, serving as someone to guide the next group of leaders. As a result of this project, Katrina has learned a lot about herself, event planning, and delegation, but also a lot about structural racism. She hopes to bring other people’s awareness to their role in perpetuating it.