These two winners were selected, from many outstanding applications submitted by graduating high school seniors across the state, by a committee of educators and community leaders.
Meet the amazing recipients of our 2016 Youth Activist Scholarship Awards!
Amy Damian Ramirez and Alessandra Miranda, were chosen for their strong commitment to protecting and enhancing civil liberties in their schools and communities through their work for educational equity, comprehensive sexual heath curriculum, immigrant rights and social justice. They will receive a $1,500 scholarship to be used toward their first year of college and were honored, along with other Utah civil liberties heroes, at the Bill of Rights Breakfast Celebration on May 20, 2016.
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Amy Damian Ramirez
Academy for Math Engineering and Science
“Being a civil liberties activist means to be aware of an issue affecting my community and taking action to make a change. It is important to represent the voices of others who aren't heard. It is bringing people with different ideas together to help with the change."
Amy has been a volunteer for Comunidades Unidas (C.U.) for four years after graduating from their Leadership Training program in 2012. During this time, she has been engaged in, and facilitated, many community projects. In 2013 Amy helped implement the Children’s Environment Health and Environmental Justice project and was recognized as C.U.’s Outstanding Youth Volunteer of the Year. Part of her work, during this time, was organizing and conducting surveys of Glendale and Popular Grove residents to identify the issues and concerns that they faced in their neighborhoods. Amy then took a leadership role in the C.U. campaign “Despierta!” or “Awaken!” to inform Latino workers of their rights. This project included organizing workshops for over 3,000 community members; hosted by the Mexican and Peruvian consulates, churches and schools. Amy joined the Mestizo Art & Activism program as a senior in high school, organizing forums and discussions for high school students on social justice issues including immigration, LGBTQ rights, and legal access to abortion. Now that she is graduating high school, Amy plans to continue her involvement as a mentor for younger students and to further her social justice activism in college.
"Being a civil liberties activist means using my voice to advocate for other young women. Education is the most crucial component of a young woman’s life. I aspire to improve women’s education in my own community, specifically women’s health education."
As an African American and Latina youth, Alessandra has been an advocate for empowering young women through increasing educational opportunities, especially in sexual and emotional health. She joined Planned Parenthood’s Teen Council during her junior year of high school and, as a Peer Health Educator, began teaching sexual education classes to middle and high school students in her community. In these classes she led discussions on topics such as contraception, STD’s, and the important issue of sexual consent as well as the legal rights of those who have suffered sexual assault. Alessandra has lobbied courageously at the Utah State Capitol on behalf sexual assault victims and for increased sexual health curriculum in schools. She was chosen to represent the Teen Council with a speech outlining their crucial work before a crowd of 3,000 during a recent rally to support Planned Parenthood. Alessandra has also been an active member of her school’s Inclusion and Equity Committee, constantly striving to make her school and community more inclusive for all. Alessandra plans to continue advocating for women’s rights, comprehensive health and sexual education, and equality for all as a college student.
Meet past winners of the Youth Activist Scholarship (2008 - 2015)