Every year, Next Day Animations is proud to award Illustrating Awesomeness Scholarships to young women or gender non-conforming individuals of color who are actively working to change the world. This year we were able to increase the number of scholarships to four – yes! We love being able to support young visionaries in this way.
We can’t single-handedly level the proverbial playing field and create equity in higher education. But by specifically supporting young women and gender non-conforming folks of color, we are investing in the ideas, achievements, and vision of young people who have traditionally been marginalized by a racist system. By listening to and uplifting these scholarship recipients, we hope to build a better world for all of us.
We’re thrilled to share a little bit about the four winners whose unique voices and visions will most certainly change the world. Here’s a little bit about Carmen, Daisha, Amuri, and Joyce.
“I have always been passionate about helping others and making a difference, and I went to college with the goal of working in the nonprofit sector to help solve racial and socioeconomic disparities. While working as a grant writer, I realized what I loved most about the job was being able to share stories of people’s resilience, strength, and dedication to social change.
Communication plays such an important role in movement building. It not only helps change the narratives that negatively portray low-income people of color but also inspires hope in people who feel excluded from public policy.
This motivated me to go back to school to hone my graphic design skills. I want to improve my skills as a storyteller, make sure my stories are accessible, and amplify the voices of people of color in the fight for justice.
I am proud that my goals align with Next Day Animations and so grateful for their support of my journey.” – Carmen Guan
“As a student, I take pride in knowing that my effort and hard work today will inevitably lead my generation to better health. As a African American woman, I take pride in knowing that my race will prosper as well. I feel that I am here for a reason and I will make a difference for my generation along with those whose skin looks like mine.” – Daisha A. Mitchell
“My name is Amuri Morris and I’m an artist and student studying at Virginia Commonwealth University. My work as an artist focuses on the manifestation of black identity. This identity always forms to show the consistently powerful presence of the black figure. I aim to rewrite the narrative that western visual media has historically established by elevating black figures to the role of the protagonist. There is a definite negative social identity that is imposed upon black youth when the media negates the idea of the black hero. I also aim to bridge the gap between community outreach programs and art. It’s important to me to utilize my talent to better engage my community. The thrill of having my work recognized for this award is indescribable. As I pursue my degree, this award will allow me to concentrate more fully on my studies. I look forward to fixating my time on continuing to learn how to effectively translate my artistic ideas, strengthening my painting competency, and excelling in every assignment.” – Amuri Morris
“My name is Joyce Quon, and I am a senior mathematics major at California State University, Los Angeles. I am truly honored to be a recipient of the Illustrating Awesomeness Scholarship. This scholarship reinforces the importance of uplifting women and gender non-conforming people of color. I hope to continue giving back to my community to make the world a better place.” – Joyce Quon