Monday, May 17, 2021

Charitable Foundation Grants Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Award Scholarships


The PBCHRC Charitable Foundation has selected three local high school seniors - Ekko Greenbaum, Sol Lima, and Vanessa Whittle - to receive the 2021 Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards. The awards are presented annually to college-bound graduating seniors who have demonstrated an interest in advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community. Each of the recipients will receive a $2,500 scholarship.
The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC) is Florida's oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. In 2015, the organization established the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation to fund educational scholarships and other charitable endeavors.
Dan Hall photo
The Social Justice Awards are named after Daniel S. Hall, a local attorney who manages a financial counseling company. Hall, Treasurer of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council since 1990, is the Council's longest serving board member.

As the father of three grown children, Hall has always had a strong interest in education.Over the years, has mentored several LGBTQ students. 
Sol Lima is a senior at Jupiter Community High School, where they are the president of the Gender & Sexuality Alliance as well as the Future Farmers of America.

During their 4 years in high school, Sol was vice president of GSA for two years, and president of GSA for another two years. They organized a 150 page slideshow about LGBTQ+ history for GSA which was sent to the school board for use in developing a curriculum about LGBTQ+ history in schools. They were instrumental in organizing their school’s Day of Silence protest for awareness of the bullying of LGBTQ+ youth in schools. Sol is also Projects Director for the No Place for Hate Club at Jupiter, and part of several other organizations on campus. They are an active member of the Compass Gay and Lesbian Community Center’s Youth Groups, and will continue to participate in them after graduation. They also attend and volunteer with Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches, the first openly LGBT+ Christian denomination. They run several online social groups for the LGBTQ+ community, and for those with ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities.
Sol plans on attending Palm Beach State College to major in biology. Their future plans include studying animals, and being a biologist. They want to continue their role in LGBTQ+ activism, both on and off campus. Sol intends to join an on-campus LGBTQ+ organization at the college they will be attending, and wants to continue pushing for progress on social and environmental issues as much as possible, in any ways they can.

"This scholarship will allow me to attain the education needed to move forward in life, especially with difficulties faced as someone in the LGBTQ+ community and on the autism spectrum," said Sol. "With a strong education, I know the world will be far more accessible -- and nearly anything will be achievable."
Lake Worth Beach resident Ekko Greenbaum is a graduating dance major at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. A dedicated artist, Ekko has been chosen to dance an array of repertoire from George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco to Paul Taylor’s Esplanade through her years at Dreyfoos.  She also serves as the historian for the National Dance Honor Society. An AP Scholar Honors Award recipient, she received the Silver Key Scholastic Art & Writing Award for film photography. 

Combining her passion for art and activism, Ekko is the Public Relations Officer for Dreyfoos Dance Marathon, a student-led movement.movement supporting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In the fall, she will be attending her dream school, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, as a merit scholar and contemporary dance major. Ekko intends to pursue dance in hopes of changing the dance world for the better, focusing her studies and choreography around breaking established binaries and gender roles. She will also continue to advocate for the representation of LGBTQ+ artists and dancers, who are often hidden and kept out of the spotlight. Ekko is currently a mentor to young LGBTQ+ artists who feel displaced in their art form; she hopes to continue this by starting an organization that will provide young LGBTQ+ artists with accessible mental health care and mentoring.

“Within my career, I hope to make both classical and contemporary dance a safe space for every human who has a passion, a place where diversity is honored - no matter color, size, sexual orientation," said Greenbaum. "This scholarship will help me attend Boston Conservatory, where I will learn about dance through a sociological perspective, allowing me to help reform the dance world and make it a more welcoming art form.”
Vanessa Whittle, a resident of West Palm Beach, will be graduating from Royal Palm Beach High School. She served as Vice President of the Speech and Debate team and Co-President of the Thespian Society, both clubs that she is extremely passionate about and used to spread the message of the fight that the LGBTQ+ Community faces. Vanessa competed in local, state, and national tournaments in both organizations that shed light on the issue of violence both against and within the LGBTQ+ Community. 

Vanessa also participated as an Ambassador for Palm Beach County in the non-partisan voting organization My School Votes, in partnership with Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote.
She worked to spread the importance of voting within her school, registering her peers to vote during classroom visits.

This summer, Vanessa will begin pursuing a degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. She plans to continue spreading her passion for social justice and civic engagement by staying active in Speech and Debate and My School Votes throughout her college career. 

“I will use the money awarded from this scholarship to help ease the financial burden of tuition, competition, and travel expenses during college so that I can continue to explore what I am most passionate about - helping others,' said Whittle.”
Created in 2015, the Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards are administered by PBCHRC Board Member Jasmin K. Lewis, Chair of the PBCHRC Charitable Foundation's scholarship program.  

"Despite the logistical disruptions students endiured during to 2020-2021 school year, Sol Lima, Ekko Greenbaum, and Vanessa Whittle have worked as passionate advocates for the local LGBTQ community," said Lewis. "The Foundation is proud to recognize their work by presenting them with the 2021 Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards."

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