Tendo Lumala

2024 - SEATTLE

Tendo Lumala, a senior at Bellevue High School in Bellevue, Washington, is the president of two student organizations: Students Organized for Anti-Racism (SOAR) and the Black Student Union (BSU). At his school, 80% of students report hearing racist language, yet students and educators rarely intervene to stop this behavior. Tendo believes that education is the only way to combat the apathy toward racism within his community. In response to the cancellation of "Race in the United States," the school district's sole racial education course, Tendo organized a campaign. Within four days, he collected over 300 signatures, leading to $18,000 in district funding for the course's reinstatement. Since then, Tendo has established a partnership between the Bellevue School District teaching and learning department and SOAR to incorporate Black voices into the existing Washington state history curriculum. His curriculum on Washington state's first civil rights legislation, which was authored by William Owen Bush, the state's first African American state representative, impacts 1,500 students yearly. Through the BSU, Tendo co-organized the school’s first-ever MLK Week of Action, leading schoolwide reflections on racist language and advocating for the development of educator frameworks for conversations following racist incidents. Outside of Bellevue High School, Tendo educates guests on the intersections between Black culture and Washington state's past as the youngest docent in Northwest African American Museum's history. Tendo is excited to continue using education as a tool to advance racial equity in college, where he plans to study public policy and African American studies.