ATLANTA – Georgia State University has announced the creation of a new endowed scholarship that honors the life and legacy of long-time U.S. Representative and civil rights icon Rev. John Lewis.
Wholly funded through donations from members of Decatur First United Methodist Church, the John Lewis Scholarship will be awarded annually beginning in fall 2022. To be eligible for the scholarship, individuals must be participants in My Brother’s Keeper (Georgia State’s program in the University System of Georgia’s African American Male Initiative (AAMI), be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need.
“The contributions of our community partners through scholarships such as this support the culture of care in which My Brother's Keeper AAMI at Georgia State University helps young black men on their various pathways to success,” said Bernard McCrary, director of Black Student Achievement. “The impact of this program and the John Lewis Scholarship will go beyond our students' years at Georgia State as they work to become the next generation of leaders for service, justice, and equality."
First proposed by Decatur First United Methodist member and Georgia State University senior lecturer and alumnus Michael Paul Black (M.S. ’04, Ph.D. ’05), the John Lewis Scholarship was conceived by the church’s leadership council in the summer of 2020 to honor Rep. Lewis’s life and impact. Seventy of the church’s congregants donated a total of $26,315 to endow the scholarship.
“The Decatur First United Methodist community valued Rep. Lewis’s faith-based leadership for years, and after his death and the racial protests of the summer of 2020, we — as a majority white congregation — began to ask, ‘What is our next faithful step in addressing racial injustice?’” said Rev. Dalton Rushing, senior pastor, Decatur First United Methodist. “While no individual step is sufficient, our church’s lay leadership felt supporting Georgia State’s African American Male Initiative was a natural step and one where we could make an impact.”
Created as a partnership between the Honors College at Georgia State and the university’s Office of Black Student Achievement, My Brother’s Keeper at Georgia State is the largest African American Male Initiative within the University System of Georgia. The program’s goal is to nurture a community focused on the personal, educational, and professional needs and development of Black male students through mentorship, connecting students to research, scholarships, and job opportunities and introducing students to a network of community partners.