This year the Fund provided scholarships to a group of student activists working for peace, fighting to preserve our civil rights, and building bridges between issues and communities under attack. These are the seeds we have planted which we know will bear fruit in the years to come.
Katia Avilés-Vázquez, a Puerto Rican activist, is completing her masters in environmental studies at the University of Michigan.
Marcella Bencivenni, a leader in her union at CUNY, is writing her doctoral thesis on Italian American radical culture.
O’Connor Scholar Raymond Costantino. Jessie Lloyd O’Connor was one of our original Trustees, a journalist and organizer who built bridges across race, class, and nation. When she died, she made a bequest we use for an annual scholarship in her memory. This year we selected Raymond Costantino as the grantee who reflects Jessie’s love of life and passion for justice. An accomplished artist, Raymond received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. After coordinating a youth program in the South Bronx, he joined the staff of the Audre Lorde Project, an LGBT People of Color organizing center. He was also an active member of the board of Latino Gay Men of New York. Raymond grew up in New Jersey where living conditions were seriously compromised by environmental hazards. That, and his experience as an industrial designer where production costs were given priority over health and safety, led him to enroll in the graduate program in City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taken a leadership role among students of color — organizing a speakers’ series, recruiting minority students, and securing curriculum changes. His course work has led him to research environmental justice, including the bombing on Vieques, as well as the organizing strategies used on the island and the mainland. Experience has led Raymond to see how oppressions intersect and what skills he needs to build collective power in marginalized communities, echoing the life work of Jessie Lloyd O’Connor.
Desiree Evans is finishing her undergraduate studies at Northwestern and is active in community and campus labor struggles.
Hayley Goodson, completing law school at the University of California, Berkeley, combines her legal work with community organizing.
Brigit Greeson Alvarez, a tenant organizer and LGBT activist in New York, is now involved in La Raza law student association at UCLA.
Sora Han, an advocate for the rights of women prisoners, is working on both a doctorate at UC Santa Cruz and a law degree at UCLA.
Robin Hayes builds international solidarity and is a doctoral candidate in African American studies at Yale.
Anna Kim, an immigrant rights and environmental activist, is working on her undergraduate degree at Claremont McKenna.
Sara Littlecrow-Russell is finishing her law degree at Northeastern while continuing to work for the rights of indigenous people.
Churne Lloyd, active in radical politics in Harlem, is beginning his doctorate in organizational development from the Fielding Institute.
Binh Ly, a South Asian community organizer, is completing her undergraduate degree in history and African American studies at Fordham.
Diane Moten, an activist in the LGBT community, is beginning her undergraduate studies at Jefferson Community College in Louisville.
Diana Oliva, a youth organizer in the Chicano community, is an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley.
Sarah (Naima) Penniman, a student leader finishing her undergraduate degree in liberation history and social change at Sarah Lawrence.
Sara Ramirez Galindo, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is making a film on sweatshop labor which will include her mother’s story.
Angelyn Rudd, an anti-racist activist, studies Spanish in order to enroll in the masters in education program at the University of Louisville.
Olga Sanabria is finishing her degree at Hostos Law School in Mayagües while continuing her work in the Puerto Rican liberation movement.
Kashfia Sarmi organizes in South Asian communities with DRUM in New York and New Jersey while studying at La Guardia Community College.
Gabriel Sayegh, organizing against globalization and white skin privilege, is beginning his masters at the University of Washington.
Josh Schaffner, a high school organizer against police abuse in New York, is beginning his undergraduate work at McGill.
Kaajal Shah, who has worked against police abuse and the prison industrial complex, is a masters student the Hunter School of Social Work.