Savannah Shepherd Recognized with Princeton Prize in Racial Relations
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations is a competitive award that recognizes high school-age students who significantly engage and challenge their schools or communities to advance racial equity in order to promote respect and understanding among all people. Winning for Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia region was Sanford’s Savannah Shepherd '20, who was cited in the program for founding the Delaware Social Justice Remembrance Coalition (DSJRC) and using that organization to assist her with her work to honor Mr. George White, the victim of a 1903 lynching in Wilmington, Delaware.
Savannah worked tirelessly for 14 months with state agencies and the Delaware Caucus of Black Legislators to ensure that a historical marker was erected in Greenbank Park at the site of the workhouse from where Mr. White was dragged and killed. On the 116th anniversary of that crime, more than 200 community members came to the dedication ceremony led by Dr. Howard Stevenson. Speakers included U.S. Senator Chris Coons, U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester, and State Senator Darius Brown, whose office funded the marker.
Disappointingly, five weeks later, the marker was stolen. Undeterred, Savannah led the effort to replace the marker and restore it to its proper place. Savannah shared: "My efforts were intended to right a past wrong and to find a way to memorialize Mr. White. I believe that by acknowledging past injustices and instances of racial terror, we can raise awareness of how they still impact our lives today. My goal is to have DSJRC continue to work to educate the public, raise awareness, and work towards racial equality. We will continue to spearhead projects that will help us to achieve those goals. The Princeton Prize is an amazing honor, and I am proud to be a part of this group of hard-working activists. I look forward to learning more about what my peers are doing to advance race relations across the country."
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations is administered by over 400 Princeton alumni volunteers, all dedicated to an inclusive and supportive society. They believe that it is critical to this nation to address issues of racial inequity and develop better racial understanding. Recipients of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations have stood up to intolerance, worked toward advancing racial equity, and encouraged racial comity in their schools or community. This prize comes with a cash award of $1,000. Winners are usually honored at the Princeton Prize Symposium held on the school’s campus in Princeton, New Jersey. Additionally, under normal circumstances, Princeton alumni typically honor the winners at a regional award ceremony in their local regions.
While Savannah will not be able to enjoy those special recognition ceremonies, her efforts are not intended for awards and accolades, as her motives run much deeper than that. However, the entire Sanford community offers Savannah their sincere congratulations to her for earning this distinguished recognition and, more importantly, for the dedication she continues to demonstrate in the area of racial equality.