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Reebok Relaunches Human Rights Award Program

A good idea is often worth revisiting. In the case of a good idea that acknowledged the incredible good done by human rights activists around the globe is one that’s definitely worth revisiting.

So is the belief of Reebok who, in partnership with Alabama State University (ASU) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is reintroducing its annual Reebok Human Rights Award program—beginning this June—when it will honor extraordinary young human rights activists under 30 years of age. Each of the honorees will receive a $100,000 award to support them and their causes.

“The need for activism to promote equality and the rights of all humans has arguably never been greater. We are proud to once again celebrate and support young individuals who have dedicated their lives to fighting injustice and creating a better world,” states Reebok President Matt O’Toole.And we are incredibly fortunate and grateful to be able to re-launch the program with the support of the ACLU and Alabama State University. Together we believe this program can be a catalyst for meaningful change.”

“From our founding by nine freed slaves just two years after the end of the American Civil War to our critical involvement in the Modern Civil Rights Movement, Alabama State University has a long and storied history of advancing the cause of human rights,” says Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr., president of ASU. “This partnership provides yet another opportunity for ASU to play a role in supporting the next generation of activists and transformative leaders.”

“We’re excited to join with Reebok and Alabama State University to recognize and honor the new generation of innovative social activists,” says Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “We look forward to joining forces with these change makers to dismantle systemic racism and build our communities up based on principles of equality.”

The Reebok Human Rights Awards program, which previously ran from 1988 to 2007, has a legacy of more than 80 recipients from nearly 40 countries. Past recipients include Winona LaDuke (1988); Li Lui, Wang Dan, Chai Ling and Wu’Er KaiXi (1989); Bryan Stevenson (1989); Van Jones (1998); and Vanita Gupta(2004).

Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, describes Reebok as a pioneer in recognizing human rights work by young activists and elevating, supporting and highlighting important issues and causes. “At a time when so many young people are doing such extraordinary work to make the world more just, equitable and safe, I’m delighted to see the revival of the Reebok Human Rights Award,” he says.

The program’s newly reconstituted Board of Advisors consists of ACLU’s Romero and Amber Hikes, chief equity and inclusion officer; hall of fame rugby player, ASU alum and entrepreneur Phaidra Knight; Dr. Regina Moorer, assistant professor at ASU; immigrant rights activist Sara Mora; the National Director for the Youth and College Division at the NAACP, Tiffany Dena Loftin; former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal; and Reebok vice president of Creative Direction and Founder of Pyer Moss, Kerby Jean-Raymond. Additional Board members will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Nominations for the 2021 Reebok Human Rights Award are now open. To nominate someone, or for more information on the program go

The June 2024 Issue

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