2021 Red Cross Class of Heroes: Students of Village Leadership Academy, Youth Heroes

In 2017, middle school students from Village Leadership Academy embarked on a mission. They led a ‘Change the Name’ campaign to rename Douglas Park in North Lawndale. The 151-year-old park was previously named after Stephen A. Douglas, a pre-American Civil War U.S senator whose wife owned a Mississippi slave plantation. Douglas had advocated for slavery to be decided on a state-by-state level. The students campaigned to name the park in honor of Frederick Douglass and Anna Murray Douglass. Both are renowned abolitionists and activists, with Frederick also known as a respected author and publisher. Their efforts included passing out flyers, speaking to journalists, recruiting advocates and attending Chicago Park District meetings to seek racial justice reform. Last September, their determination was rewarded when the Chicago Park District Board voted to rename it Douglass Park.

Because of the Village Leadership Academy students’ vision and dedication, the Red Cross is honoring them with the 2021 Youth Heroes award, sponsored by ITW.

ITW is proud to support The Red Cross because of their shared commitment to social responsibility, and their proactive safety culture. The ITW Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors consider safety an essential component to their success and work to ensure the soundest safety practices possible to protect their colleagues and community. 

Learn more about the 2021 Red Cross Heroes, and how you can help here. All gifts will be matched up to $215,000 through May 2021, thanks to the generous local support of Better, Fran & John Edwardson, and Susan & Nick Noyes. Make a gift today!