On Thursday, October 11, six students and teachers represented BUA at the Hutchins Center Honors in the historic Sanders Theater at Harvard University. The centerpiece of the ceremony was the awarding of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal; this year’s recipients were Dave Chappelle, Kenneth Chenault, Shirley Ann Jackson, Pamela Joyner, Colin Kaepernick, Florence Ladd, Bryan Stevenson and Kehinde Wiley for contributions to African and African American life and culture.
Rukky Madu, a junior at BUA, reflected on her experience:
“Last week I went with a small group of teachers to the sixth annual W.E.B. Dubois Medal Ceremony. It was a great experience that left all of us very inspired. From hearing about Shirley Ann Jackson pioneering the way for other young black female physicists to laughing at Dave Chappelle’s many jokes, I was filled with a sense of black pride that I don’t feel every day. The most inspiring speech I heard that day was from Bryan Stevenson. When he walked on stage, applause filled the room and he was greeted with a standing ovation that lasted about two minutes. When it was his turn to speak, I then understood why everyone in the room respected him. He began describing the work he and his team had already done exonerating innocent death row prisoners. In between every sentence, there was another round of applause, which made it difficult to hear all the amazing work he had done. But from what I could gather, he was a great social activist who founded the Equal Justice Initiative in order to help people who were unjustly tried but didn’t have money for a good lawyer. During moments like that, I felt really inspired and was so glad to be invited to such an event.”
Watch video from the ceremony here.