Farmington High 2020 graduate Aniyah Stokes is among 29 high school students from across the U.S. to receive this year’s Princeton Prize in Race Relations.
The program recognizes students who, through their volunteer activities, have undertaken significant efforts to advance racial equity and understanding in their schools or communities.
According to information provided by the program, Stokes, who also attended Harrison High School, was president of the National Honor Society, a functioning head of Farmington’s District Diversity Committee, and provided a voice for her peers during the Harrison closure discussion.
For more than two years, Stokes has planned a “Diversity Day” conference with high schoolers throughout Metro Detroit. A princeton.edu profile explains:
“In a predominantly white community, this conference provides a safe space for students to candidly discuss any negative experiences they have endured due to their racial identities and to learn from each other’s experiences. The activities throughout the conference help students educate one another about their perspectives, show students that they can relate with peers they previously identified as their outgroup, and prepare students for better interactions between different races in their everyday lives.”
Stokes also used her position as a choreographer to communicate controversial issues impacting her community, creating dances entitled “Learning to Let Go,” illustrating that regardless of one’s race everyone experiences grief, and “Standing on the Horizon,” illustrating the journey of African American success in America in order to challenge society’s indifference to oppression. “Learning to Let Go” was performed for over 800 people at several community events.
The Princeton Prize for Race Relations carries cash awards of $1,000. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, programming for the awardees was held over video conferencing, rather than on the Princeton campus at the typically scheduled two-day symposium.