Color Of Change Honors Educators and Activists Protecting Black History

The inaugural Black History Now Awards celebrate leaders fighting right-wing and legislative attacks on education.

On February 24, Color Of Change honored seven educators and activists committed to teaching true American history.

From L-R: Kahlil Greene, George M. Johnson, Carol Ammons <br>Photos: Courtesy of Color Of Change
From L-R: Kahlil Greene, George M. Johnson, Carol Ammons
Photos: Courtesy of Color Of Change

In direct response to legislative and right-wing attempts to censor education, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization hosted its inaugural Black History Now Awards on its Facebook page. In a statement, the organization said the event was designed to celebrate “educators and activists who are working to defend our history curriculum against political attacks.”


As conservative attacks against critical race theory heighten—and as the ongoing global pandemic exacerbates inequities in education, Color Of Change selected seven individuals actively working to defeat unjust policies and preserve the integrity of Black history. “These leaders aren’t just defending history, they’re making it,” said Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson.

Among the honorees are New York Times bestselling author George M. Johnson, who received The Kimberlé Crenshaw Award for Intersectionality In Education. Through their writing, George has given a voice to the vastly unrepresented Black queer folks in America. Their book, All Boys Aren’t Blue, has currently been removed from eight public school libraries across the country. Color Of Change said the organization is excited to “ use our platform to give George a more prominent voice surrounding the erasure of Black history and how they are fighting to make sure all communities are represented.”

Dr. Bobbie Hayes Goodrum received The Derrick Bell Award for Truth In Education. Dr. Hayes Goodrum serves as the Assistant Superintendent for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Farmington Public School District in Detroit, Michigan. Last year, she introduced the “21 Day Equity Challenge,” an optional program designed “to offer participants the chance to deliberately focus on issues of equity on a daily basis.” The challenge involved weekly Zoom reflections and conversations for faculty and community residents to engage in dialogue around equity.

The full list of inaugural Black History Now Award recipients include:

Rep. Carol Ammons, Illinois State Senator – The Thurgood Marshall Award for Public Servant for Fair Education

Constance Daw, Principal of Franklin Public School – ​​The Mari Matsuda Award For Diversity, Equity and Inclusion In Education

Amy Donofrio, Former teacher at Riverside High School, Co-Founder of the Evac Movement – The Tara J. Yosso Award for Excellence in Counter Storytelling in Education

Dr. Bobbie Hayes Goodrum, Assistant Superintendent of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Farmington Public School District; Detroit, MI – The Derrick Bell Award for Truth In Education

Kahlil Greene, Gen Z Workplace Inclusion Expert; Germantown, MD – The Nikole Hannah-Jones Award For Innovation In History Education

George M. Johnson, New York Times Bestselling Author – The Kimberlé Crenshaw Award for Intersectionality In Education

James Whitfield, Former Colleyville Heritage High School Principal – The Richard Delgado Award for Advocacy and Perseverance in Education

Through the Black History Now Awards, which are also available to view on YouTube, Color Of Change emphasized the danger of education censorship as it “threatens to erase the connection between the history of racism, the ongoing injustices in our society today, and the potential solutions to move us toward an equitable future.” Robinson further noted that, in the midst of the fight for justice, there must be a moment for joy. “When it comes to fighting censorship and ensuring all students receive a full picture of American history, we must begin by honoring and celebrating the people who are leading the way.”

Candice Benbow
Candice Benbow

Candice Marie Benbow is theGrio’s daily lifestyle, education and health writer. She’s also the author of Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @candicebenbow.

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