FFRF proudly announces Lorraine Hansberry Humanist scholars

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is excited, in association with the Women’s Leadership Project, to announce the 2023 Lorraine Hansberry Humanist Scholarship awardees.

FFRF has helped to fund scholarships for nine college students this year, totaling $5,500. The honorees were chosen by the Women’s Leadership Project, which, with Young Male Scholars, conducts school and community-based peer education programming, outreach and professional development, offering invaluable life and job training skills.

The award memorializes Hansberry, the freethinking playwright who famously wrote in 1964: “Though it be a thrilling and marvelous thing to be merely young and gifted in such time, it is doubly so — doubly dynamic — to be young, gifted and Black.” Hansberry’s play, “A Raisin in the Sun” (1959), was the first drama by a Black woman produced on Broadway.

Participating students meet weekly with program coordinators and interns and are trained in sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention, LGBTQ-plus youth leadership outreach and homeless education.

For the past several years, these youth have demonstrated outstanding social justice leadership, peer education and community organizing. These multiyear college scholarships are designed to support Women’s Leadership Project and Young Male Scholars’ youth through graduation. The majority are first-in-the-family college students. Graduating high school seniors received $1,000 and continuing college students received $500. Besides the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which gave $2,750, support was also provided by the Harrington Family fund, the Matheson fund and Atheists United.

This year’s Lorraine Hansberry Humanist scholarship award winners are:

Asha Kent, UC San Diego, $500
Lizette Nsilu, El Camino College, $1,000
Kim Ortiz, Cal State L.A., $500
Brianna Parnell, Santa Monica College, $500
Mariah Perkins, Clark Atlanta University, $1,000
Zorrie Petrus, New York University, $500
Ashantee Polk, Antioch University, $500
Deaven Rector, Howard University Law, $500
Lizette Tecuapetla, Pomona College, $500

“It’s an honor for us to memorialize an incredibly gifted playwright who also happened to be a freethinker through these scholarships,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “Lorraine Hansberry’s legacy deserves to be furthered in every new generation.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members across the country. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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