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MLK Spirit Awards Recognize Taubman College Students, Staff, and Faculty

Friday, January 22, 2021

Every year, the deans whose academic units are housed on the University of Michigan’s North Campus honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through the North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Awards. Given annually to faculty, staff, and students, the awards honor members of the community who exemplify the leadership and vision of Dr. King through their commitment to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

"For many of our community members this is lifelong work. For others, it was spurred by the Movement for Black Lives and the disparities intensified by the COVID pandemic," said Taubman College Dean Jonathan Massey. "I am proud of their contributions to social and spatial justice."

Taubman College’s 2021 North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Award winners are:

Joe Grengs, Chair and Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Planning
Recognized for his commitment to championing student voices and tirelessly advocating for students’ well-being.

“I wish for cities that are built and run by and for diverse people who value coming together to learn from their differences, even when it’s a struggle.”

Holly Naveh, Career Development Specialist
Recognized for creating and leading Taubman College’s Racial Justice Working Group

“During each Racial Justice Working Group meeting we start to dive into topics of racial injustice, inequity, oppression, power, privilege, etc. as a group of staff members across the college. As we go through our reflections personally, we also attempt to identify and change where those elements show up in our own roles and work. I feel at my best helping to lead and collaborate in a conversation about change in a tangible way in the college.”

Sarah St. Amie, Academic Advisor
Recognized for her commitment to advocacy and mentorship, particularly for first-generation minority students

“This program was designed with the needs of first-generation and underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students in mind. Several student participants who hold those identities have commented on how they’ve benefited from being involved in the program. That makes me feel at my best because it shows that the program is serving its intended purpose and is providing these students with resources, guidance, and connections they otherwise may not have received, especially in light of the current pandemic and the remote nature of this academic year.”

Serena Brewer, M.Arch ’21
Recognized for her role as a co-creator of the Design Justice Actions group

“It brings me joy to feel included and to include others.”

Emily Ebersol, M.Arch ’21
Recognized for her role as a co-creator of the Design Justice Actions group

“I don’t believe work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice will or should ever stop. My wish for the future is that we commit to anti-racist work with intention, whether that be by educating ourselves, supporting and uplifting one another, or using our platforms for good.”

Anna Thompson, M.U.R.P. ’21
Recognized for her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

“It is powerful to be a part of a student-led mission that challenges our college to apply DEI principles to not only how we show up and treat each other, but to the pedagogical truths we uphold.”

Design Justice Actions for Taubman College
Recognized for their commitment to decolonized architecture and urban planning education

“The Design Justice Actions is a student-led campaign that actively works to advance anti-racism at Taubman College. Since its dissemination, the DJA has formed a student-committee of 20+ students spanning across design disciplines responsible for seeing the 12 actions through. We have held sessions to discuss topics including the decolonization of our design education through an intensive review of all core course syllabi, review culture in architecture schools, community engagement efforts at the College and within our local community, integration of DJA action items into the Year 5 DEI Strategic Plan, and the creation of racial equity in design seminar. Through the work of DJA, we established a network of anti-racism work and formed a unified team of dedicated individuals to advance ideologies and policies of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. We are at our best DEI selves when we build on existing anti-racist work and conversations at the college.”

Learn more about each of Taubman College’s award recipients, as well as the other recipients, on the North Campus Deans MLK Spirit Awards webpage.

The North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Awards is one of the many events taking place as part of the University of Michigan MLK Symposium, which spans 45 days. Visit the 2021 U-M Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium for details.

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