Chicago Students ‘Change the Name’ to Celebrate Black History — Successful Award Sponsor ITW Honors These 2021 Red Cross Youth Heroes

itw day of action

The 2021 Youth Hero Award recipients, middle school students from Village Leadership Academy, campaigned to change the name of a local park to pay tribute to renowned African-American abolitionists and activists, Frederick Douglass and Anna Murray Douglass. We celebrate their contributions to honor Black history in their community this month!

itw hearts giving hope

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. In September of 2020, their determination was rewarded when the Chicago Park District Board voted to rename it Douglass Park. 

itw day of action

ITW is proud to support the Red Cross because of the shared commitment to social responsibility, proactive safety culture and strong support for the future of our youth. The Youth Hero Award exemplifies the very best of these qualities. ITW considers safety an essential component to their success and works to ensure the soundest safety practices possible to protect our colleagues and community. 

The American Red Cross of Illinois celebrates the everyday heroes in our communities and honors their acts of great bravery, dedication, and service through their annual Heroes Breakfast event. The event also serves as a way for the organization to highlight partnerships with corporations like ITW that make the lifesaving mission possible. As the sponsor of the 2021 Youth Hero Award, ITW makes it possible for the Red Cross to be prepared to respond to more than 60,000 disasters nationwide. 

Learn more about the 2021 Red Cross Heroes and nominate a Hero in your life here.

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