FOR RELEASE THROUGH APRIL 20, 2018 700 words
Contact: Jim Stahl, Publisher, 401-751-3766.
Five Earn Young Leader Awards. More Local Awards to Come.
[Providence, Rhode Island, 15 March 2018]
Young people have long been a part of social movements, and today’s political moment is no exception. Young activists across the country are mobilizing and creating change in their communities. One Rhode Island-based social enterprise is helping these young people make their voices heard.
Still-Legal! Apparel for the Next Four Years recently launched a grant program to offer support to young leaders in New England and New York. Recent grantees, all in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, lead in several areas including community development, environmental awareness, substance abuse prevention, youth development, and transgender issues. Coming grants in 2018 will award young climate activists. “We want to give heart, thanks, and timely support to brave, local, peaceful leaders under thirty,” says Jim Stahl, 61, Still-Legal! founder. “These young people inspire their peers and older adults, too, to raise their voices and get involved in support of compassionate, democratic values. There’s no time to waste.”
Among 2018’s first five grantees is Ngoc-Tran Vu. She’s an artist and community activist born and raised in Dorchester, a Boston neighborhood. Tran wanted to highlight the rich history of the Vietnamese community in her neighborhood. She created a public art project steered by an intergenerational, intercultural group of Dorchester residents. Their goal? “To develop a public mural that expresses the challenges and beauty of our community,” says Tran. Her Still-Legal! grant will help her create a website to allow people beyond Dorchester to access the work. She says she wants the new site to “spread the conversation.”
Brown graduate student and Rhode Island transgender activist Ryan Segur is the Youth Empowerment Coordinator at Rhode Island for Community Justice. Ryan will use the Young Leader grant to support a series of youth empowerment workshops at RICJ. Ryan’s efforts emphasize “allowing youth to take positions of leadership, to teach and lead discussion with their peers on the issues that contextualize their day-to-day lives.” RICJ helps kids come to terms with bias, bigotry and racism and advocates for mutual respect and understanding.
Boston native Reginald Fils, another grantee, is still in his first semester at Bentley University. He realized as a teenager that there were few opportunities in his community for young people of color to participate in business and entrepreneurship. “There aren’t a lot of people who look like me initiating these conversations. I felt like a lot of people could benefit, so I started doing it myself,” says Reginald. He plans to use his Still-Legal! grant to expand his youth development work, speak in more schools and youth groups, and continue to create programs that emphasize the relationship between entrepreneurship and community activism.
Gabe Lamanuzzi and Daniela Lopez, each from Boston, also earned Young Leader awards. More about them is found under Leader Grants at www.Still-Legal.com.
Social-enterprise startup Still-Legal! Apparel for the Next Four Years sprang to life on the eve of Donald Trump’s election. That’s no coincidence. Still-Legal’s T-shirt slogans take gentle (and not-so-gentle) aim at the controversial positions of the new administration. Appearing plainly in white type on the front of each jersey are simple protest statements like “Facts: They’re Still Legal,” and “Teach Science: While it’s Still Legal,” and “Compassion: While it’s Still Legal.” Shirts are sold at www.still-legal.com.
Young Leader grants are funded by T-shirt sales, says Stahl, a native of Swampscott and resident of South County, RI. “Every 100 shirts sold at Still-Legal.com completely funds a grant to a young leader. Every purchase matters.” Stahl, a father of two young adults, also makes his own contributions to the grant fund, which has inspired a few of his peers to consider making their own. “Many liberals of my generation may not still be inclined to carry signs in the streets, but we know a danger to democracy when we see one. We see one. This is how we can help.”
At least five more Young Leader grants will go out in 2018, says Stahl, “even more if my peers get involved.” Climate protection and advocacy will get emphasis in the coming round. The application deadline is April 30, 2018.
To nominate a young leader, to purchase t-shirts to support upcoming awards for climate advocacy, or to apply for a Young Leader Grant, readers can visit www.Still-Legal.com.