The Open Society Foundations Announce Justice Rising Awards
NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations are proud to announce their Justice Rising Awards, a new investment in leaders working towards racial justice and equality in the Black community in the United States. The 16 awardees from across the country are being recognized for their long-term contributions to advancing change in their communities, tireless commitment to civil rights, and capacity to inspire, innovate, and mobilize people despite considerable odds.
“Movements change our sense of what is possible and find ways to transform tragedies—like this pandemic and the murder of George Floyd—into a force strong enough to bend the arc of history,” said Tom Perriello, executive director of Open Society-U.S. “We are proud to support 16 of the leaders whose courage, creativity, and tenacity in recent years have helped force our country to value Black lives and advance closer to our aspirations of racial equality. These visionaries will be the first to defer credit to the larger movements, but we believe they deserve recognition for their contributions to democracy, equality, and justice that have improved the lives and hopes of us all.”
“We remain at a critical moment in the fight for racial justice in the United States, and these 16 award recipients represent important parts of the ongoing struggle to combat inequality and injustice,” said Adam Culbreath, acting division director at Open Society-U.S, who helped manage the selection of the awardees along with Tara Huffman, previously the director of the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Program at Open Society Institute–Baltimore. “The Justice Rising Awards are meant to acknowledge them and the work and communities that they are a part of, and hopefully ensure their ongoing capacity to stay engaged, grow, and fight—and inspire others to do the same.”
The awardees were selected by a group of Open Society-U.S staff who have long worked to advance racial justice in the United States. In making their decisions, the group sought to reflect the diversity of issues, approaches, geographies, life experiences, and movement philosophies represented by Black movement leaders across the United States and its territories.
The Open Society Justice Rising Awards are part of a wider investment in racial justice announced by the Foundations in the summer of 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the worldwide racial reckoning that followed. Those investments, totaling $220 million, were made in support of emerging organizations and leaders in Black communities across the country.
The Open Society Justice Rising Awards was presented virtually on February 9, 2022. Special guests Sounds of Blackness, poet Aja Monet, and voting rights champion Stacey Abrams joined the celebration in tribute to the 16 awardees. Best-selling author, political strategist, and Open Society-U.S. board member Heather McGhee hosted the event.
Recipients of the awards range from emerging leaders to more established forces for civil rights. The 16 Black leaders selected as the Open Society Justice Rising Awardees are...