By: Sharon Aron Baron
The American Ethical Union honored the activism of students and teachers following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting in an event in Tampa.
Held June 22, MSD teachers Kimberly Krawczyk, a math teacher and Dr. Jacob Abrahan, Director of Forensics and speech coach, along with student Lea Serrano, accepted the 2019 Elliot-Black award on behalf of the school.
Serrano urged attendees never to forget both the victims and survivors. Krawczyk spoke about the failures of administrators to act on the shooter’s mental health issues and the desire for future schools to never have to undergo an active shooter drill.
The school was honored for its advocacy in the wake of the deadly 2018 shooting. That work led to then-Governor Rick Scott signing a bill that raised the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21 and the banning of so-called “bump stocks.”
The Elliott-Black Award is the highest honor that the AEU bestows to organizations or individuals in recognition of their significant and positive impact on society through profound courage and commitment and in the fulfillment of ethical ideals. Previous honorees have included the Southern Poverty Law Center, former congressman Robert C. Eckhardt, and Aubrey M. Daniel III, who famously said to President Nixon that “the United States must be a nation of laws, not men.”
The AEU is a national organization devoted to the nontheistic religion of Ethical Culture with 23 ethical societies nationwide.
The award ceremony was part of the AEU’s 104th Annual Assembly in Tampa from June 21-23, celebrating the theme of “Democracy for All.” Speakers included Carlos Guillermo Smith, the first openly gay Latin member of the Florida House of Representatives and Howard Simon, former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Throughout the Assembly, attendees attended workshops and talks to learn about how they can get more involved in advocating for the rights of the most disenfranchised in our country.