2020 - WASHINGTON D.C.
Srihari Ravi is a senior at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Maryland. An International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma student, Srihari recognized that the students in his more academically rigorous courses were predominantly white, despite his school's diverse demographics. He researched the achievement and opportunity gaps in his school district, Montgomery County Public Schools, for a 20-page IB Maths Standard Level research paper. In discovering his school district's racial and socioeconomic disparities, he found himself involved in a local movement for school integration in hopes of achieving educational equity among students of all backgrounds and subsequently limiting the achievement and opportunity gaps. He used his report to testify twice at the Montgomery County Board of Education, participated in community conversations relating to de facto segregation, presented his research in forums led by Communities United Against Hate-Youth Creating Change and the Museum of Contemporary American Teenagers, joined the OneMontgomery and Students Toward Equitable Public Schools coalitions in support of school integration efforts (becoming a founding member of the latter and coining their name), and created a website for IMPACT Silver Spring's Beyond Boundaries MoCo subdivision. After speaking with and in front of hundreds of people over the course of his advocacy efforts, he recognized the significance of individual conversation and storytelling as a component of social change. He has additionally sought racial justice by petitioning his school district for more inclusive school names; by organizing discourses on race, state violence and segregation both at his school and virtually; by surveying over 600 students from all 25 MCPS high schools with the Nomen Nescio Project, a coalition of students across Montgomery County looking for solutions to sexual assault and harassment among high school students from a racially inclusive and intersectional lens; and by completing research on the impact of caste and ethnicity on the experiences of the Tamil diaspora. His advocacy will be continued by fellow Einstein students Avery Smedley and Luca Utterwulghe.