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2012 Morrill Hall/Rachel Tilsen social justice awards

The Morrill Hall and Rachel Tilsen Social Justice Fund was created to acknowledge and honor the work of the Afro American Action Committee (AAAC) and Rachel Tilsen. By acknowledging the 1969 Morrill Hall Take-Over at the University of Minnesota Campus (see the award-winning film at www.vimeo.com/6608437) and Rachel Tilsen, we recognize the importance of personal sacrifices as well as organizational efforts in the struggle for social justice. The Afro American Action Committee (AAAC) emerged from a rich tradition of protest, revolt, and resistance to the spirit of racism and ruthless domination. AAAC embraced the "incarnate spirit of justice, hatred of a lie, that willingness to sacrifice money, reputation, education and life itself on the Alter of right." AAAC stood on the shoulders of the NAACP and the Niagara Movement. The members of AAAC believed, they stood, and they spoke. In fact, the tenacity of the AAAC members transformed the University of Minnesota to become more inclusive, more tolerant, and less separated from the dynamics of the entire community.

Rachel Tilsen epitomized the term Social Justice. Rachel was more than just a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, and wife. She was a fierce freedom fighter and lover of life. In many respects her legacy lies in her courage and the attributes she instilled in every woman that had the opportunity to meet her. She was not only a freedom fighter, she was also a teacher. Rachel taught others to have respect for self, family, culture, and history. She was a morale lifter who believed that you had to let your voice be heard, and that you had to follow your words with action. She championed what she believed. Rachel insisted that we have a responsibility to stand up for the people who do not have the strength or the will to stand for themselves. Rachel fought for social justice regardless of race, color, religion, or creed.

The Morrill Hall and Rachel Tilsen Social Justice Fund is intended to continue and promote the activism AAAC and Rachel subscribed to: equality and justice for all people, with all people equally valued; and vigilant struggle in the fight for justice.

Grants up to $6000 will be awarded to individuals or organizations for projects addressing social justice.

Applications and criteria are available for downloading. Email questions to mhrtjfquestions@gmail.com

Applications will be accepted up to midnight on April 1, 2012.

Awards will be presented on May 5, 2012 at the third annual Morrill Hall/Rachel Tilsen Social Justice Fund Gala Event.