Three finalists await Thursday event

The second annual 'PDX Peace Prize' award has been narrowed to three finalists, one of whom will be named the winner at a public ceremony on Thursday, May 26.

The finalists are Shane Endicott of the Rebuilding Center, Imani Muhammad of YOUTH Summit, and Emanuel Price of Black Parent Initiative.  

All three have demonstrated 'passion for and dedication to promoting peace, democracy, and sustainability in the community,' according to the students of the senior inquiry class at Jefferson High School, which worked on the project as part of their curriculum during the past semester.

The students first read up on International Nobel Peace Prize winners, then solicited nominations from local individuals and organizations to name their own local hero. Twenty nominations came in.

They conducted interviews with 15 of the nominees in two weeks' time, then engaged in a three-day consensus process in which they discussed ways the nominees met their criteria for the prize.

They also examined parallels between the leadership qualities of their candidates and the Nobel Peace Prize winners.

'If a person can make a change, then we all as a community should stand together and make a difference,' says student Viet Le. 'Our Portland Peace Prize is teaching, telling, and showing the good traits of being a better person in the community.'

The second annual PDX Peace Prize, created by Jefferson teacher Brady Bennon, involved the 33 students in the class he co-teaches with an English teacher and PSU professor.

In addition to the interviews, the students worked to plan and host the award ceremony and call attention to their effort by communicating with the media.

The students looked for Portland leaders who led major initiatives in 'reducing conflict and crime, uniting diverse communities, promoting sustainability and education, and supporting civil rights.'

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26 at the Ecotrust Building, 721 N.W. Ninth Ave.

Light refreshments will be served. Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman will speak at the event, along with Kelly Campbell from Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Renowned political singer, songwriter and guitarist David Rovics will perform. Community organizations will display information booths about their work and services.

There will also be a silent auction, with $800 worth of items from Patagonia, Adidas, Laughing Planet Café, OMSI, Salty's Dog and Cat Shop and Yoga Shala.

All proceeds will be donated to the Portland Peace Prize winner's local non-profit of choice.

The senior inquiry class crosses disciplines by teaching English, government and economics. Upon completion, the class is worth 15 college credits.

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