Student Activist Awards

Cliff Richards Student Activist Scholarship Awardee: Marie Chantal – 2020

Marie ChantalThe Freedom From Religion Foundation is proud to announce that it has awarded three $1,000 scholarships to nonreligious students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The scholarships are part of FFRF’s Cliff Richards Memorial Student Scholarships and are in partnership with Secular Student Alliance.

FFRF is providing the scholarship funds and chose the students from a pool of applicants; the Secular Student Alliance has done the legwork and vetting.

Marie Chantal is a junior at Howard University, majoring in chemical engineering with a concentration in biotechnology and biomedicine. She plans to attend medical school to become a doctor specializing in contagious diseases. She hopes to provide aid in the refugee crisis and build Africa’s medical infrastructure. Marie was born in a Rwandese refugee camp, so she and her family know the impact of war. “I do not have a name for my secular identity,” Marie says. “I just know that I have seen Catholicism imported by colonizers stop my people from seeking justice for themselves because they believed in a savior falling from the sky. I have seen religion hurt my people.” Marie is a member of the Youth United Nations Association, Black Action Movement and Planned Parenthood. She has organized fundraisers and panel discussions for Freedom House Detroit, which helps asylum seekers. She has presented at conferences on cultural competency and preventative methods against sexual harassment in higher education and has produced a documentary promoting Black mental health.

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