Alum of the Month: Edward Ward
Edward graduated in 2011 from Orr High School, located in Chicago’s West Humboldt Park community. He was an active member of Orr’s Student Leadership Council and Mikva’s Youth Safety Council. Edward recently graduated from DePaul University with a B.A. in Political Science.
Tell us about your Mikva experience…
Through Mikva Challenge, I was inspired to be the voice of those who were ignored. I was encouraged to fight for what was right. I met so many amazing people who inspired me to reach for the moon in hopes of landing among the stars. Through Mikva I learned to be selfless in everything I did. I spoke with elected officials on behalf of my community, I fought to have different peace programs brought to my high school, and spoke on various panels educating people about the struggles of youth of color.
Describe any significant relationships with fellow Mikva students.
Meeting other Mikva students for me was very encouraging. Knowing that there were others around my age who were mobilizing around the same causes gave me hope to keep fighting. We ultimately became the village our communities have been deprived of for decades. Even now I remain hopeful for the future.
In what ways has your Mikva experience shaped who you are today?
Because of my Mikva experience, I decided to keep up the fight. I stand as an activist fighting for marginalized communities. I made the decision to stay in my community and not to eventually leave. Mikva taught me how to make changes from within my community instead of the age-old idea of “making it out”. My community is worth staying in. It is a place called home, and you never leave your home, you simply work to make it better.
What are you doing now?
I am currently enrolled in law school and preparing to run for office within the next year. I still march and protest against systems that are harmful to our communities. I educate youth in the community on how to become young organizers. I also give lectures in various places, educating people about our struggle and how they could be of assistance. I currently work to win over allies so that we can have a united effort in tackling systems of oppression. I have taken youth to Springfield where they’ve effectively lobbied elected officials to pass legislation which would positively impact youth of color in the public school system. I don’t wait for the next big thing to occur before I take a stand. I work, as Mikva has taught me, to create the next generation of civic leaders.