The Long Beach Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released the finalists for its 2022 Black History Month Youth & College Scholarship Program.
According to the chapter’s president, Naomi Rainey, each recipient was a member of the NAACP, enrolled full-time or a graduating high school senior with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, and demonstrated an interest in a relevant field of study applicable to the organization’s mission of fairness and inclusivity. Throughout their essays, each student described their own experiences promoting social justice in their communities.
Megan Lane, a senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High won first place. She illustrated her experiences educating her community about the systematic disparities experienced by Black and students of color in the American education system. Some of these issues included disciplinary discrimination which helped to increase the school-to-prison pipeline. Through her three-year internship with Californians for Justice, Lane was able to develop her passion for improving educational advancement and widening the success rate for Black students. With over 500 community service hours participating with Californians for Justice, she was able to serve as co-chair for the Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee and also as a student delegate for the California Association of Student Councils.
The second place recipient was Joyce Le, a California State University, Long Beach State senior and a NAACP Intern & Scholar for the local chapter. Having interned as an administrative assistant, she worked with President Rainey to promote the organization’s mission of fairness and inclusivity for Black and students of color. “By assisting the NAACP, I feel that my time as an intern has not only provided me with valuable skills, but also allowed me to help the people of color in our community. The firsthand knowledge I’ve gained by interning, studying, and interacting face-to-face with people of all colors gives me the confidence to believe I can make a difference,” Le described in her essay. She is currently working towards her undergraduate degree in marketing.
The third place recipient was Sylvia Lee, another Long Beach State senior. She worked with at-risk youths in an after school enrichment program that provided elementary school children with educational support and guidance as well as exposure to other enrichment activities. Lee was also a performer in a social justice troupe that brought awareness on issues such as sexual assault, stalking, and racism. As of recently, she was an intern and administrative assistant for the Long Beach Branch of the NAACP where she had the privilege to become part of an organization that provided opportunities for the underserved people of Long Beach. “The NAACP’s mission to create more equity in our communities and stand for racial justice has left a deep impact on me as I move forward. I will continue to embody these values as a social justice advocate for the rest of my personal, academic, and professional life,” Lee wrote in her entry.
Vedant Sinha, a political science senior also attending Long Beach State, received an honorable mention. He learned about the NAACP and its impact on the civil right movement through his history class. After realizing how important such organizations are to bringing relief to underserved communities he joined the team at the Long Beach Branch of the organization. “I am honored as the President of the Long Beach Branch NAACP to have promoted this project where students had to write an essay, detailing their experiences promoting civil rights,” said Rainey.
Each student received a cash prize along with the recognition of being honored by the executive board of the Long Beach Branch NAACP.
For more information, please visit lbcanaacp.org.
By Carter Williams II