2019 – CONNECTICUT
Shawn Brooks is a senior at Science and Technology Magnet High School in New London. Shawn serves as senior class president as well as president for More Than Words, a leadership diversity training club. More Than Words facilitates workshops on topics such as white supremacy, racism, colorism, and more to educate both students and faculty. Shawn is a core member at a social justice organization in his community, Hearing Youth Voices. As a core member, Shawn disrupts the oppressive cycles resulting from education inequities within the community and initiates positive actions for the youth, such as protests and other forms of activism. This year, he advocated for the implementation of an Ethnic Studies course at his school, which is being taught this semester. Recently, he spoke at the capital in regard to Bill 7082, demanding the inclusion of African American Studies in the public school curriculum. In his school district, Shawn is one of the student representatives for the District Equity Leadership Team Advisory, a subcommittee of Board of Education members and public school administrators having "courageous conversations" regarding race within the district. Data regarding student academic performance and disciplinary actions in New London Public Schools has inspired Shawn to assist in writing an equity plan to implement restorative practices and to help students of color gain access to academic resources. This year, Shawn was voted vice-president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Youth Council. He has led conversations for students in his high school, in response the critically acclaimed film The Hate U Give. Shawn has dedicated his senior capstone project to understanding how racism perpetuates health inequities for disenfranchised communities.