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NAACP chapter president Coleman named Organizer of the Year


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NAACP chapter President Australyah Coleman  speaks during the CMU chapter of the NAACP's protest of a racist event that happened Nov. 7 in Sweeney Hall. 

Australyah Coleman, president of the CMU chapter of NAACP, received a regional award from the organization's Youth and College Division. 

The Grand Rapids senior was named Organizer of the Year for Region 3 of the NAACP Youth and College Division during the NAACP National Convention July 20-24 in Detroit.

To be considered for the award, applicants must submit work samples, letters of recommendation and explain why they should be considered.

Coleman was recognized for her work with the Mount Pleasant Area Diversity Group and her response to a racial incident that happened in a residence hall in November 2018.

After a racist, misogynistic message was written on a whiteboard in Sweeney Hall, Coleman responded with a call to action for the university. She wanted each student to be required to take a cultural course in their major or minor and mandatory race and ethnicity training for all faculty, staff, students and police. 

Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer A. T. Miller said his office has be working to make these requests happen. In response to the incident, his office implemented an online training module that will be required for all incoming students this fall. 

The training covers all aspects of diversity including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and intersectionality. The module will be available to the entire campus community, and Miller hopes faculty and staff will use it as a resource for assignments and discussions. 

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