Berkeley High School Senior Kadijah Diani Means has been working hard during her high school career to bring racial equity to the world – and the world is watching.
Means, 18, was recently awarded the prestigious Princeton Prize for Race Relations at a ceremony in San Francisco for her years of hard work.
The award recognizes young people who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the cause of positive race relations and who have worked to increase understanding and respect among all races.
Just 27 high school students from around the United States were selected to receive the 2015 Princeton Prize. The students were honored April 24 and 25 during the annual Princeton Prize Symposium on Race held on the Princeton campus.
Means was honored locally in San Francisco on May 17.
The winners traveled to the New Jersey campus in April to participate in a two-day program that included group discussions, presentations, and speeches on topics such as “Prejudice in the Blink of an Eye: The Science of Racial Bias” by Stacey Sinclair, associate professor of psychology and African American Studies, and “The Power of Story” by Anthony Carter, former chief diversity officer at Johnson & Johnson.
Means said her goal is to make this world a better place by building equity. She’s not interested in becoming a politician, but wouldn’t mind running campaigns to help others, she said.
Means was nominated for the award for a variety of projects including: directing and editing a documentary about race at her school, planning a Policy Brutality Awareness Rally with Amnesty International and her school’s Black Student Union, organizing a school walkout and rally to protest racial injustice in the United States, and organizing a workshop for young African American women.
As she graduates, Means will end her term as president of Berkeley High School’s Amnesty International Chapter and Chair of the school’s Black Student Union.
She was accepted to several colleges and is still uncertain about which she will ultimately attend. Though wherever she lands, she plans to continue working to make people aware of racism, implicit and explicit bias and systematic racism, she said.
She has garnered lots of media attention over the past year for her activities. She was selected as the sole high school student to participate in a roundtable discussion with US Attorney General Eric Holder in January when he visited the Bay Area.
During the event, she was able to spotlight important issues like why police body cameras is just not enough and the militarization of police forces, she said.
And, she’s not done with her work. Just last weekend, she recorded a podcast for This American Life about the Birds and the Bees and how to discuss difficult topics with children.
Means has already made an impact in her community and to the world – and it’s just the beginning.