PHOENIX – The Secretary of State’s Office announces and invites Arizonans to submit applications for the newly created John Lewis Youth Leadership Award, which aims to inspire Americans by awarding a civic-minded young person in each state who demonstrates leadership, has a passion for social justice, and works to improve the quality of life for their fellow citizens.
The National Association of Secretaries of State created this award in February. It seeks to honor the life and extraordinary achievements of the late Congressman John Lewis.
“The newly established John Lewis Youth Leadership Award will recognize the Arizonan who exemplifies the character, service, and commitment that Congressman Lewis demonstrated in his own lifetime. In his life’s work, Congressman Lewis advanced whole communities and fought for lasting change. This national initiative to present this annual award to Americans in every state will celebrate the crucial work of young people in our communities,” said Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who serves on the executive board of NASS.
Congressman Lewis’ courageous achievements during the Civil Rights Movement and long tenure of public service have inspired and will continue to inspire Americans for generations to come. In 1961, at the age of 21, Lewis was one of the original thirteen Freedom Riders. In 1963, Lewis was the youngest speaker at the March on Washington and was one of the “Big Six” leaders who organized the march. In 1965, Lewis helped lead the Selma-to-Montgomery marches. The first march took place on March 7 at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where unarmed marchers were attacked by state troopers. The event would later become known as “Bloody Sunday” and was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis’ activism at an early age continued throughout his life and he served as a U.S. Congressman for 33 years until he passed away in 2020.
The Office of the Arizona Secretary of State is accepting applications for the John Lewis Youth Leadership Award until Aug. 15, 2021 and the recipient will be announced on Sept. 28, 2021 in celebration of National Voter Registration Day.
- Be 25 years old or younger at the time the award is presented
- Show a meaningful commitment to civil rights issues, including but not limited to voting rights
- Have provided service to a community in Arizona
The online application form is available here.