Two students honored for social justice work

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Article Author: Sarah Crosby
Publication Name: Daily Hampshire Gazette
Article Date: 5/26/2016
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FLORENCE, MA — Two Valley high school students will receive scholarships for their work in social justice Sunday at the Sojourner Truth statue.

Olivia Kan-Sperling, from Northampton High School, and Lanre Thomas, from Amherst Regional High School, the scholarship recipients, have both tackled issues of inequality and injustice in their communities through innovative projects and volunteer work.

Both will be recognized at 2 p.m. Sunday as part of the 14th annual Sojourner Truth Memorial Celebration at the corner of Park and Pine streets in Florence.

Sojourner Truth, who lived in Florence during the 19th century, was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist following her escape from slavery.

“We are talking about two scholarship winners working on equality in different spheres,” said Terry O’Toole, chairman of the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee, a nonprofit based in Florence. “By focusing on areas or issues that are negatively impacting groups of people, the self-initiative both took is really hallmark of how (the committee) perceives that Truth lived her life.”

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