The star-studded event was held at the Avalon in Hollywood and aired live on VH1. Celebrities were also recognized for their charitable work, including Jennifer Hudson, Patrick Dempsey, LL Cool J and Kelly Osbourne. Sophia Bush hosted the festivities and announced the grand prize winner.
“This is for Trayvon Martin, this is for Oscar Grant,” said Maree when his name was announced. “This is for all the million hoodies across the United States. Thank you so much.”
Maree, a digital strategist who lived for a time in Gainesville, Fla., says he experienced racial profiling firsthand. He was spurred to action after the shooting death of the unarmed 17-year-old, hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Fla., last year.
The 25-year-old organized the original Million Hoodies March where 50,000 people rallied across the country. His volunteer group also collected 2 million signatures calling for the arrest of the shooter, George Zimmerman.
Maree told Yahoo News last week that if he won the grand prize, he would be able to double the membership of the organization, to 100,000, launch a conflict management boot camp for 5,000 youth, and create a virtual version online.
Maree says the organization wants to mobilize a million people to call for a national plan of action on “racial discrimination and gun violence” for the president to sign. "I'm incredibly hopeful," he said.
The Do Something awards celebrate world changers aged 25 and younger. Maree was among five finalists competing for the grand prize, including Sasha Fisher who founded Spark MicroGrants, Jillian Mourning for founding All We Want is LOVE (Liberation of Victims Everywhere), Lorella Praeli for her work with United We Dream and Ben Simon for starting the Food Recovery Network.