Olivia Brown


Through a school project titled "What's in a Name?," Olivia Brown, a junior at Malverne High School in Malverne, New York, discovered that a local street, Lindner Place, was named after Paul Lindner, a Ku Klux Klan member responsible for cross burnings, Klan parades and the burning of an orphanage. Notably, the street was home to an elementary school with a student population predominantly of color. Not satisfied with simply completing the school project, Olivia was driven by this disturbing revelation to lead a group of fellow students on an initiative to advocate for the street to be renamed. Over the course of two years, she spoke at monthly town hall meetings and did extensive research on the actions of Paul Lindner. Her work accumulated into a research paper that was the final push to persuade the village board members to vote on renaming the street. Now, the street is named Acorn Way, representing how small acorns become mighty oak trees. The name change was a symbol of hope for the young students that their voices will be heard as they grow older, and that wrongs of the past can still be righted.