Last month, The Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation named University of Connecticut student Damani Douglas a social justice fellow, according to a UConn Today article.
Douglas, a sixth-semester political science and communications major, is one of 50 undergraduate and graduate students who make up the organization.
Douglas was inspired to get involved in social justice advocacy when he was in high school, in response to the 2018 Parkland shooting.
“With a group of other students, we organized a protest and raised several thousand dollars for the families of the victims,” Douglas said.
His efforts to pursue social justice and become involved continued into his college career.
“In my freshman and sophomore years here at UConn I lead USG’s Student Development and External Affairs Committees. In those roles I was able to build the foundation of what activism might look like on a large-scale level,” Douglas said, “In my junior and senior years, I have been able to get a taste of high-level advocacy through work with UConn’s Administration and the Mansfield Town Council.”
As a fellow, Douglas and a group of peers met virtually over the past summer where lessons around social justice and advocacy were taught, a UConn Today article said.
In order to be appointed the award, Douglas had to work throughout his career at UConn to advocate his passion for social justice.
“From my first semester I have been involved in USG, NAACP UConn, UConnPRAXIS (formerly ‘UConnPIRG’), and many others. I currently serve as President of NAACP UConn and last year I was elected USG’s first ever Chief Diversity Officer,” Douglas said, “Last year I was privileged to join Medical Minds Matter, a California non-profit started by UConn Alum Derek Pan to improve the mental health of pre-med and matriculated medical students.”
The award Douglas received holds great significance to him because of the rarity and respect he has been able to gain from it.
“I am honored and humbled to be named one of only 50 Social Justice Fellows out of a nationwide applicant pool by an organization with the kind of impact that the Memorial Foundation has,” Douglas said.
As his passion and work for social justice advocacy continues, Douglas urged students and staff to attend a Rally for a Peaceful World, being held at 12 p.m. Oct. 12.
“I’ll be there and I’d love to see a few hundred students there as well,” Douglas said.