$1,000 FFRF Yip Harburg Lyrics Foundation Scholarship Awardee: Amuri

AmuriAs a child, Amuri experienced periods of adversity, and art was a form of escapism. At Virginia Commonwealth University, she is passionate about art and wants to be a studio artist and art teacher. As the deprioritization of creativity in the classroom in favor of rehashed lesson plans stunts the development of a visionary lens, Amuri wants to ensure future generations are presented with artistic nurturing to maximize their potential.

Amuri wants to promote community engagement in the arts. She volunteers as an art studio assistant at the Children’s Museum of Richmond, helping children create art and greatly further their social-emotional development. She has also created several murals in the city of Richmond.

As an African-American, Amuri felt her racial identity led her to secularism, because religion was historically used as a tool of oppression for black communities within America. By promoting freethought within the black community, Amuri hopes this will help shape future leaders that are free from previous biases and unjust religious grounds for governing our society. Amuri is a continuous participant in activism that points out that there is no justification for prejudice against nonbelievers as well as activism against the use of people forcing their beliefs on others.

A studio artist, Amuri’s work focuses on the manifestation of identity — particularly Black identity — and consistently features the powerful presence of the Black figure as a way to rewrite the narratives Western visual media historically assign Black figures.

This scholarship is made possible by the generous Yip Harburg Lyric Foundation and FFRF Member Ernie Harburg, the son of the famous lyricist of “Over the Rainbow.”

Each student winner received $1,000.

Freedom From Religion Foundation