Wes Gobar, a senior at University of Virginia, wrote “What It’s Like to Be a Black Student When White Supremacists March in Your College Town” published on Vox. In his winning entry, Gobar described his experiences when white supremacists rallied at the University of Virginia in response to efforts to remove Confederate statues.
Wes is a native of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He will graduate from the University of Virginia in May 2018 with majors in Government and History. Through the Distinguished History Major Program, he has written an undergraduate history thesis on the 1887 Thibodaux Massacre. At UVA, he served as President of the Black Student Alliance, a peer advisor for incoming African American students, a member of the Cavalier Marching Band, and a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. As BSA President, Wes was a consistent advocate for racial justice and led student efforts to respond to the terrorist events of August 11-12, 2017. Wes has published work in Vox Media, the Washington Post, and The New York Times.
Zyahna Bryant is a junior at Charlottesville High School. Her winning entry, “Change the Name of Lee Park and Remove the Statue,” a petition to Charlottesville city council, helped spark the town’s movement to remove Confederate statues.
Zyahna is a student activist and community organizer who works on issues of racial justice in Charlottesville, VA. Her primary focus is on the achievement gap and equal access for students of color. She founded the Black Student Union at her high school and is a member of the Charlottesville Youth Council. At age 12, she organized her first demonstration, a rally for justice for Trayvon Martin and other unarmed black lives lost to police violence. Zyahna has been featured on CNN and in The New York Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker Magazine, and Vice News. She was recently awarded the 2018 Washington, D.C. Princeton Prize in Race Relations.
Read more about the Student Stowe Prize and Big Tent Jubilee.